The Arizona Coyotes continued their recent stretch of victories, with Darcy Kuemper extending his own impressive record in 2019.
Multiple injuries to starter Antti Raanta have seen Kuemper forced into the limelight in the desert, but the 28-year-old has started to flourish in the role – seeing the team still in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Prior to the Coyotes’ shootout victory over the Florida Panthers, the team’s official Twitter account posted some impressive statistics about Kuemper’s performances since the turn of the year.
Heading into the Panthers game, Kuemper held a 12-3-3 record in 2019, averaging just 2.29 goals against and having an impressive save percentage of .925.
Allowing three goals against the Panthers, with a save percentage of .889, will have impacted Kuemper’s individual stats, but he has extended his impressive form to 13-3-3.
Many teams in the NHL are only able to progress as far as their starting goaltender will take them, and many were concerned with how the Arizona Coyotes would fare – with a string of poor results seeing the team slip towards the bottom of the Western Conference.
Entering the third month of the new year, however, the Coyotes find themselves within touching distance of the final wildcard spot – with Rick Tocchet having the team pulling in the right direction, and his incumbent starter looking more than comfortable.
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Kuemper has already played the most games in a single season in his entire career, with 37, having made 31 regular season appearances with the Minnesota Wild in the 2014/15 season.
While he is not likely to be in the Vezina conversation, Kuemper fully deserves some recognition for how well he has stepped up in place of Raanta – who was a legitimate Vezina contender at the start of the season.
Heading into the 2019/20 season, the Coyotes will rest easy knowing they have Kuemper ready to step up if Raanta is unable to play through a full season, with the Saskatoon native sporting an 18-14-5 record with plenty of hockey still to play this season.
What do you think Coyotes fans? Are you pleased with how well Kuemper has stepped up this season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!