Darcy Kuemper is playing how Arizona wanted him to when they traded for him last season.
Struggling to find a solution in net for when Antti Raanta was unavailable, the Coyotes hoped that Kuemper would be the right player for this task. Though he finished the season with a .899 save percentage last season, the team struggled to have a goaltender finish above .900 other than Raanta.
His start to the season is one of the best in his career so far. Through three games (2-1), he’s stopped 88 of 92 shots (.957) and has a goals-against average of 1.34. This leads goalies with the same amount of starts.
Last season to now:
Kuemper’s come a long way since his first season in Arizona midway through last season. He allowed four goals or more in four games and finished with a 3.22 GAA. This season, the most he’s given up was two goals in his first start.
How the offense plays when he’s in net:
The offense has woken up recently and it’s shown when he’s in net. In his three starts, the offense tallied nine goals – 36 percent of the team’s offense.
How defense plays when he’s in net:
Besides Kuemper, the defense is another surprise to the team. Ranked second in the penalty kill (89.3), he has yet to give up a power play goal.
The combination of good defense and goaltending has allowed only one game decided between one goal (the 2-1 loss to Minnesota). The rest were wins within three goals against two good offensive teams. Columbus and Vancouver are ranked fourteenth and sixteenth respectively.
We like this guy. pic.twitter.com/3ycU1yaV4d— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) October 26, 2018
Even though he will see less time with Raanta back, he still provides a viable option for when he’s needed in a game. Winning without their top starter is something the Coyotes needed to prove after struggling with other goaltenders in net. With Kuemper giving a good performance in a short time, they might have an answer to this issue.
In Case You Missed It:
Jakob Chychrun (knee) is cleared for contact and is slated to return in early November, possibly for their next road trip that begins on November 8 in Philadelphia.
Christian Fischer scored his first career hat trick in Columbus to close out the Coyotes’ road trip (2-2).
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