Latest Posts

Capitals feel sense of relief with Darcy Kuemper in net: ‘A lot more normal’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Capitals feel ‘much more normal’ with Kemper in goal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

- Advertisement -

Capital Cities were one of only two teams in the NHL to be in the 2021–2022 season. played 40 matches with several goalkeepers each, which gave Ilya Samsonov (44 games, 0.896 SV%) and Vitek Vanechek (42 games, 0.908 SV%) wide opportunities. to grab the starting job. It was the second season in a row that two young goalkeepers shared the crease, and for the second straight season neither showed enough consistency to own it.

- Advertisement -

Instead of giving the duo another try, Capitals general manager Brian McLellan decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He started the summer with exchanging Vanechek for New Jersey Devils and allowing Samsonov, a former first-round pick, walk in free agency. These decisions paved the way for McLellan to make a big splash in the realm of free will: signing Darcy Kemper.

Kemper signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract to join the veteran Capitals team in their quest to win another Stanley Cup title. The 32-year-old won his own championship last season, becoming the best player in goal for the Colorado Avalanche. Over the past five seasons, his .921 shooting percentage and 2.43 GAA rank among active goaltenders with at least 150 games played.

Although he had some injury issues, it’s undeniable that Kemper was one of the best goaltenders in ice hockey. His addition, while coming at the expense of a pair of promising players in Samsonov and Vanechek, gave the Capitals the most confidence they’ve had between the pipes since Braden Holtby fought for the Vezina prizes.

“I think we know who Darcy is, what he did and what he achieved,” general manager Brian McLellan told reporters on Thursday ahead of the opening of training camp. “If you’re making a free agent roster, you need the Cup, you need experience, he has size, he has track record, he’s also played on different types of teams – championship-level teams and non-playoff teams. So he has a wealth of experience that I think we can all benefit from.”

With Kemper, who accounts for the lion’s share of starts and signings with free agents. Charlie Lindgren had to back him up, the Capitals joined most of the NHL, making their success dependent on playing a workhorse goaltender.

“I’m not surprised how it ended,” said center Lars Eller. “I think most teams have a real, real No. 1 and then they have a backup – and that also shows up in salaries. This is how most teams built their goalkeeping tandem. We’ve had a situation lately [two seasons] with Sammy and Vitek where they both fought for the first place… I think they have a brilliant career ahead of them and they will continue to grow. They are both still young goalkeepers and at the same time I understand why the team did what they did.”

Both Samsonov, 25, and Vanechek, 26, have shown potential from time to time. They each won a game in the Capitals’ first-round playoff series against the Florida Panthers and had some success that gave Washington hope that they would establish themselves as reliable goaltenders. But whether it’s injuries or inconsistencies, neither has gained a big lead in their ongoing competition.

Building a Core of Players Who Didn’t Get Younger or healthier, McLellan realized that the team could not afford to wait for one of them to reach his potential. Instead, they used the precious cap space they had to sign Kemper and get much-needed security in the most important position in hockey.

“His track record speaks for itself and what he is capable of,” said defenseman John Carlson. “I think these two guys handled the situation really well. I don’t think it’s the most ideal situation, but they both handled it really well. I think it’s much more normal to be like this, to lean on one guy and change playing time in terms of health and wellness, rather than going back and forth.”



Source: sports.yahoo.com

- Advertisement -

Latest Posts

Don't Miss