Goalie Notes: Kuemper, Murray, Campbell

When the Colorado Avalanche acquired Alexander Georgiev from the New York Rangers earlier this week, it became abundantly clear that the Avalanche would be moving forward without their Stanley Cup-winning starting goalie, Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper is set to hit the market on Wednesday, and with other pending free agents such as Valery Nichushkin, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovskyand Josh Mansonmore Nathan MacKinnon‘s mega-extension coming up a year from now, the Avalanche just aren’t in a position to spend significant cap dollars on a goalie. That leaves Kuemper with an intriguing opportunity, as he’s proven himself to be a championship-caliber starting goalie and is coming off of a regular season where he posted a .921 save percentage in 56 starts. There should be significant market interest from teams looking to acquire his services.

One of those teams is presumed to be the Washington Capitals. They traded one-half of last season’s goalie tandem, Vitek Vanecek, to the New Jersey Devils, and have enough cap space to make a splash on a goalie. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet on the 32 Thoughts Podcast, the Capitals have been “very interested” in Kuemper for “quite some time” and should be “very motivated” to sign him once the market opens next week. The Capitals are looking to remain a Stanley Cup contender for the rest of Alex Ovechkin‘s career, and acquiring a cup-winning number-one goalie is certainly one way for GM Brian MacLellan to keep his team in the mix.

Now, for some other notes regarding netminders across the league:

  • Earlier this week, we covered the trade that would have sent Ottawa Senators goalie Matt Murray to the Buffalo Sabres, before being nixed by Murray himself. Murray scuttling that trade possibility hasn’t stopped the Senators in their attempts to move him, and according to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch, Senators GM Pierre Dorion is “trying to get creative” in order to solve his current goalie logjam that currently has the team rostering three goals on one-way contracts. Per Garrioch, the Toronto Maple Leafs are “involved in talks” with the Senators about Murray, and the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes are two teams “studying the option” of taking on Murray. Murray, 28, carries a $6.25MM cap hit for the next two seasons and has not performed like a quality NHL goalie since 2018-19. Murray does, however, have two Stanley Cup rings on his resume and a career .911 save percentage, making him a potentially intriguing reclamation project for a team willing to take on his contract along with some sweetener assets as well.
  • For some time now, it’s looked as though the Toronto Maple Leafs and their number-one goalie for the last two years, Jack Campbell, were headed for a divorce. Campbell struggled as the season went on in 2021-22, and many assumed that the cap-strapped Maple Leafs would prefer to go in a different direction than extend Campbell on a market-value contract. Now, with Petr Mrazek‘s $3.8MM cap hit off the books, it seems a Campbell reunion may be possible after all. TSN’s Chris Johnston reports that Campbell is “the priority” for Toronto and that before GM Kyle Dubas approaches any other goalie options he’ll want to make one last push at an extension for Campbell.

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