Thursday, September 11, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #2 Darcy Kuemper

Darcy Kuemper
Catches: Left
Height: 6'5". Weight: 205 lbs.
Born: May 5, 1990
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 6th round pick (161st overall) in 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 5

As noted back in June, no one player had more to do with turning the Wild's season around in January than Darcy Kuemper did. His 2.15 GAA and .932 save percentage in January was just what the Wild needed as they battled injuries to key players, and helped the team earn some much needed victories.

Kuemper was expected to get most of his time in Iowa last season, but due to injuries and illness to Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding, Kuemper was forced to get more of his time in Minnesota after the calendar flipped to 2014. Even though Kuemper's hot January eventually cooled off and he was eventually replaced in net by Ilya Bryzgalov, the Wild turned back to "Kuemps" again in Game Three of their first round series against Colorado (the Wild went on to win the series after Kuemper took over in goal).

In Kuemper's red hot month of January, the Wild were absolutely dominated in terms of possession. But yet, Kuemper's ability to make save after save kept the Wild from an almost certain train-wreck season. At 6'5" he stands as one of the league's tallest goaltenders and as one of the league's most promising goalie prospects.

Kuemper's status for 2014-15 remains very much in question. He is a restricted free agent and recent reports have him threatening to go to Russia while he has his contract dispute. Kuemper is believed to be looking for a one-way deal but with Backstrom and Harding at 100% to open the year, the Wild have been reluctant to give him that kind of contract.

Even with the contract uncertainty, Kuemper enters the season as the Wild's second best prospect and will almost certainly be relied upon once again to take charge of the nets at some point during the 2014-15 season.

Team of 18,001's 2014-15 Top 10 Prospect List
1. Tomorrow
2. Darcy Kuemper
10. Raphael Bussieres

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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