The Arizona Coyotes have been involved in many trades since general manager John Chayka took over, and one arguably has had the biggest impact on the team.
At the time that Kuemper joined the Coyotes, he had a 10-1-3 record with a goal against average of just 2.10 and a save percentage of .932.
The Coyotes knew what they were getting with Kuemper, who had played no more than 31 games in an NHL season prior to his move to the desert.
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In his brief spell to end the 2017/18 season, Kuemper looked far less impressive – going 2-6-2, with a goal against average of 3.22 and a save percentage of .899.
Those numbers were looked at when Raanta suffered a season-ending injury in December, with Coyotes fans wondering if the team needed to go and get another goalie.
The team did acquire Calvin Pickard from waivers to compete with Kuemper and Adin Hill, but no one could’ve expected how little he was required for the rest of the season.
Kuemper stepped up in the most amazing way for the Coyotes this year, playing in a whopping 55 games (including a 22-game starting streak), holding a record of 27-20-8 with a goal against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of .925.
Unsurprisingly, Kuemper was named the team’s MVP at the end of season awards – having helped guide the team to within just four points of making the playoffs.
When looking at how much of an impact Kuemper has had on the team in his brief tenure, it is worth remembering how little the Coyotes parted with to bring him to the desert.
Wedgewood was immediately sent down to the minors, however, and has not played a single NHL game since being traded.
The 26-year-old is no longer with the Kings, either, currently playing for the Rochester Americans in the AHL – the affiliates of the Buffalo Sabres.
Rieder, equally, has had a difficult time since leaving the desert.
The German forward scored four goals and had six total points in 20 appearances during the regular season for the Kings last year, but found himself blanked in four total playoff appearances.
Now with the Edmonton Oilers, Rieder failed to score a single goal this season and has just 11 assists in 67 regular season games.
Neither player sent to the Kings in exchange for Kuemper is with the organisation whereas Kuemper is now a legitimate contender to keep the starting role with the team next season – regardless of how healthy Raanta is.
A stellar season that saw the team ride their hot goaltending towards the playoffs has shown how important the position is in the NHL and how great the trade to acquire him was.
The Coyotes are a team trending upwards at a steady rate and next season will be a crucial one for both the organisation and Kuemper – who will now have many more eyes focused on him after a season of heroics.
What do you think Coyotes fans? How happy with this trade are you? Who will be the team’s starter next season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!