Saturday, June 7, 2014

2013-14 Season In Review: Darcy Kuemper

Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today
If any one player had more to do with saving the Wild season, it was Darcy Kuemper. Lets look back at his 2013-14 campaign.


Iowa (AHL): 26 GP, 7-10-0, 2.47 GAA, .929 Save Percentage
Minnesota (NHL): Regular Season-26 GP, 12-8-4, 2.43 GAA, .915 SV %, 2 SO
                             Playoffs-6 GP, 3-1-1, 2.03 GAA, .913 SV %, 1 SO


Early on in the season, injuries to Niklas Backstrom forced Kuemper to be up in Minnesota. He did not play often (Josh Harding's success had a lot to do with this), and when he did, he was very ineffective. Kuemper eventually got to go back and play down in Iowa for a good part of November and December. He wasn't great, but he certainly wasn't bad either. Then in early January, Josh Harding's absence and Niklas Backstrom's ineffective play lead to Mike Yeo giving Kuemper a chance to take the net. He did not disappoint. Kuemper went 6-2-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .932 Save Percentage in January. He followed that with a 4-0-1/1.55/.942 line in February. But as March went on, Kuemper came back down to earth a bit, and was eventually replaced in net by the team's trade deadline acquisition, Ilya Bryzgalov. Kuemper did get his chance in the postseason as he got the start in Game Three against Colorado, and lead the Wild to three wins before being removed in Game Seven due to an injury. Kuemper was not seen from again in the second round.


Status for 2014-15

Kuemper is a Restricted Free Agent this summer. He is coming off his Entry Level Contract, which came with a cap hit of $900,000 per season. Chuck Fletcher has noted several times since the season ended that Kuemper will likely be on the roster next year, with Harding and Backstrom. It is not conventional to carry three goalies on the roster, but Kuemper is likely to command a one way contract (meaning he can not go down to the AHL without clearing waivers) this summer. Given how Kuemper saved the season, Fletcher will have no issues handing a new contract to Kuemper this summer.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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