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Darcy Kuemper signs a 5-year deal with the Washington Capitals

Kuemper was the top goalie on the free agent market and he is getting paid like it

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay Lightning Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After winning a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche, Darcy Kuemper signed a 5-year contract with the Washington Capitals for an average annual value of $5.25 million per year.

Kuemper had an up and down year with the Avalanche, as he struggled mightily to open the season and raised questions as to whether Colorado GM Joe Sakic overpaid for the talented netminder when he sent first and third-round picks along with defenseman Connor Timmins to the Arizona Coyotes before the 2021-22 season. Kuemper quickly quieted his critics as he settled into the Avalanche system around the new year, and by virtually every metric you can find, he was very clearly a top 10 goalie in the second half of the season.

In the playoffs, Kuemper was not good, as he finished 29th out of 30 playoff goalies in goals saved above expected per, but a serious eye injury he sustained early in the first round against Nashville was the main culprit behind his inconsistent play. Coach Jared Bednar said after the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup that Kuemper had to go to the optometrist to retrain his eye each and every day during the playoffs.

Despite this debilitating injury, Kuemper saved his best for last, as he played well in the Stanley Cup Final, particularly in the pivotal Game 4 where he stopped 37 shots and outplayed all-world goaltender Andrei Vasilevsky in an overtime win that proved to be the turning point in the Avalanche’s march to a championship.

Despite the up and down nature of Kuemper’s time in Colorado, his legacy is secure as the starting goaltender on one of the league’s most dominant teams of the 21st century, and Avalanche fans should wish him well on his new journey to help resurrect Washington’s Stanley Cup hopes.