Capitals sign free agent goaltender Darcy Kuemper to five-year deal

Caps sign goaltender Darcy Kuemper to five-year deal originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Capitals have found their new No. 1 goaltender as they’ve agreed to a deal with free agent Darcy Kuemper to a five-year, $26.25 million deal that will pay him an average of $5.25 million per season. 

Kuemper comes to the Capitals by way of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. With the Avalanche in a cap crunch, they elected to trade for Alexandar Georgiev from the Rangers as Kuemper moved on to free agency. 

General manager Brian MacLellan and the front office had been searching for a No. 1 goalie for months now, a netminder capable of making not just the big save, but the timely one. In Kuemper, they’re clearly hopeful he can make that type of impact in net. 

Last season for the Avalanche, his only season in Denver, Kuemper posted a .921 save percentage with a 2.54 goals against average. In 16 playoff starts, he posted a .902 save percentage and a 2.57 GAA.

Kuemper, 32, will have played for five NHL teams when he makes his first start for the Capitals in October. He previously spent time with the Wild, Coyotes, Kings before his year in Colorado. 

The Capitals recently moved on from both Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov, trading the former and opting to not qualify the latter. Vanecek is now in New Jersey and Samsonov is on his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs

In Kuemper’s last four seasons in the NHL, he’s posted save percentages of .921, .907, .928 and .925. No Capitals goaltender with at least five regular season games played has posted a .920 save percentage or better since Philipp Grubauer did so in the 2017-18 season with a .923 percentage. 

The Capitals will now look to add a second option in net to spell Kuemper. Organizationally, Pheonix Copley is a free agent to go along with Samsonov. Zach Fucale is the only goalie in the system with NHL experience. He, Clay Stevenson, Garin Bjorklund and Hunter Shepard are under contract for next season. 

With a No. 1 goaltender in the fold and a salary figure set, the Capitals can turn their attention to any needs at both forward and defense.

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