ARLINGTON, V.A. — Within hours of each other, netminders Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren inked deals with the Washington Capitals, making them goalie partners for at least the next three years. After putting pen to paper, the two quickly texted each other, and that laid the foundation for an already fast friendship.
Since arriving in D.C. and meeting for the first time, Kuemper and Lindgren have formed a tight bond as they take over the Capitals’ crease. Both will make up Washington’s revamped situation between the pipes as the team moves to two outside netminders following a couple of seasons with a young but inconsistent tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. And for both Kuemper and Lindgren, a key to success is a good partnership.
“It’s crucial,” Lindgren explained, adding, “It’s huge to have a partner, a really good partnership with a goalie partner. And Darcy and I, we certainly have that. The funny thing is we’ve only been together for three weeks, but it feels like we’ve been together for a long time.”
Lindgren, 28, is preparing for his first full NHL season after a stellar showing with the St. Louis Blues organization, where he posted a .958 save percentage at the NHL level and a .925 save percentage in the AHL, good for second in the league.. Kuemper, 32, is coming off his first Stanley Cup title and has led the league in save percentage since 2017-18 (among goalies with at least 150GP).
Also, both have looked strong at camp and in games for Washington. Kuemper will get more action in the final two preseason games but was a perfect 9-for-9 in his debut, where he and Lindgren combined for a 21-save shutout against the Detroit Red Wings. Meanwhile, Lindgren has been solid and feels the best he has in his career, as he’s stopped 41 of 43 shots (.953 SV%) through three outings so far.
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From the first day that the two met, they automatically clicked. They’re not sure why, but in ways, they’re alike; both are easy-going dog lovers who like to keep things even keel and push each other to be better. And now, both now wear the same Bauer Konekt skates.
On the ice, both work closely in tandem together with goalie coach Scott Murray and spend extra time at practice to boot. Off the ice, they hang out and shoot the breeze and have plans to get their wives together. Both are also looking forward to introducing their dogs to one another on Tuesday.
“We’re on the ice 20 minutes before practice together. We spend a lot of time in the gym together. The goaltending position, you spend a lot of time stretching. We do a lot of that,” Lindgren said. “Just kind of BSing in the morning. Just sitting on some foam rollers, hanging out, talking. A lot of time talking over a cup of coffee in the morning,t oo. It’s huge to have a partner, a really good partnership with a goalie partner. And Darcy and I, we certainly have that.”
Going forward, both are confident that they’ll continue to learn from one another and form one of the league’s top dynamic duos. And for them, that starts with a bromance.
“[Our bond so far] says a lot about the way we interact and our chemistry, so I think we’re gonna be pretty close,” Lindgren said.