Darcy Kuemper looks for improvement this season

Darcy Kuemper, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Darcy Kuemper, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Capitals did more than underachieve last year. They straight up crapped the bed. But this wasn’t on Darcy Kuemper.

Kuemper was brought to the Caps to fix the goaltending situation. There were stretches where he played good but adjusting to a new team as well as moving parts on defense in front of him contributed to his struggles.

Kuemper went 22-26-7 last season with a 2.87 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. While this was likely his worst season there were two factors to it. 1. Adjusting to a new team and new competition in the Metropolitan Division. And 2. Injuries happening nearly every week to his teammates.

It’s still too early to tell if Kuemper is an upgrade from Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. Both young goaltenders took their new teams to the playoffs but at the same time, those Maple Leafs and Devils teams were much better than the Caps anyway. So was it really them? Or was it Auston Matthews or Jack Hughes?

Although the GAA and save percentage weren’t quite good a big positive in the stat line is Kuemper’s five shutouts which are tied for second among all NHL goaltenders.

Kuemper told the media on breakdown day:

"“I’m happy with the effort I put in but I’m not gonna feel good about my game being in this position. I gotta look at how I’m going to improve this summer, and what I’m going to do to do my part to help the team get back to where we want to be.”"

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Kuemper knows how to win. He won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche before he got his big payday with the Caps later that summer. If the team around him is consistent, stays healthy, and plays hard, we should see Kuemper have a dominating season.