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Kuemper Ready For New Journey With Capitals: ‘This Is Where I Wanted To Go’



Could the Capitals pursue Darcy Kuemper?

ARLINGTON, V.A. — Fresh off a Stanley Cup championship, goaltender Darcy Kuemper watched as his name rose on “top free agent” lists around the league. As the Colorado Avalanche elected to move on with a tandem of Pavel Francouz and Alexandar Georgiev, Kuemper prepared to hit the market and also received interest from multiple teams. In the end, one stood out: the Washington Capitals.

Kuemper ultimately signed with the Capitals, who didn’t have a goalie on the roster going into Wednesday’s free agent market, for five years at $5.25 million per season.

“Once I knew Washington was interested, it was a place I could really see myself fitting in and was really excited at that thought,” Kuemper said. “This is where I wanted to go of all the options, and I’m really excited that we were able to get something done.

“You never know where you’re going to end up. A lot of unknowns. You just can’t think about it too much because you’ll drive yourself crazy. But everything happens for a reason, and it worked out and ended up with a great organization, a great team and super excited for it.”

The biggest draw to D.C. was clear for the 32-year-old: a shot at yet another Stanley Cup. For Kuemper, the team’s core, comprised of Alex Ovechkin, John Carlson, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and more, can do just that.

“I just really liked the roster. Obviously, it’s a team that’s won before, and it’s a veteran group that knows how to win,” Kuemper said. “That’s what I was looking for: another chance to go win. I think this is the place where we can do that.”

READ MORE ON WHN: Capitals Finalize Tandem, Bring Lindgren On Board With Kuemper

In 57 games for Colorado in 2021-22, Kuemper went 37-12-4 with a .921 save percentage and 2.54 GAA. He then posted a 10-4 record and .902 SV% en route to the Cup. He has had a save percentage of above .915 all but four times in his 10-year career.

Heading into a new franchise, Kuemper said he is excited to provide stability in goal and begin a new era of goaltending in D.C. with Charlie Lindgren. The 6-5 netminder is also looking to not only show consistency but get the Capitals to their end goal: another title.

“I think this is a team that can win it. That’s always a lot of fun to be a part of. Really looking forward to get started,” Kuemper said. “It’s going to be a short summer, but I can’t wait to get down there and meet the guys.”

This summer will be a bit different for No. 35. His day with the Cup is in August, and he and his wife will also look for houses in D.C. In addition to moving, he also has to rest, recover and train while preparing for camp in September. In the end, though, he is just ready to make the most of this new opportunity.

“When I’m asked to play or told to play, I love playing the game. I’ll play as many games as they want or need me to. I just love being in the net and having fun out there,” Kuemper said. “For me, it’s not a set number [of games I need to play]; it’s just whatever I’m needed or called upon to do.”