2) Darcy Kuemper
After an inconsistent first nine seasons of his NHL career, Darcy Kuemper has settled in and is in the midst of his best NHL season after being acquired by the Colorado Avalanche this past offseason. It’s the best opportunity he’s been given to be the full-time starter on his team. The Saskatoon, Canada native by season’s end will have played the most games of his career, while also having a goals-against average of 2.51 and a .922 save percentage.
Despite playing with an elite NHL offense, Kuemper deserves a lot of credit as to why the Avalanche are 1st in the Western Conference with 116 points and are serious contenders to win the Stanley Cup in June.
How does he benefit the Devils?
In the last couple of seasons, New Jersey has had a very bad break when it comes to the availability of veteran goalies they’ve signed. Last year after Corey Crawford was expected to relieve Mackenzie Blackwood’s load, the Chicago Blackhawks legend decided to call it a career. This season it took just eight starts for Jonathan Bernier to be sidelined for the season with a hip injury.
This year Kuemper has proven he can stay healthy over the course of a full year and can help New Jersey out by simply being available. While there will be a lot of kinks to work out including depth, it’s definitely been proven that especially in the Devils’ case, you can never have too many goalies.
While similar Kuemper, similar to Vanecek, should have a lot of interest on the market this Summer, the Holy Cross High School graduate is someone New Jersey can definitely afford and should definitely be in communication with him once free agency commences.