Darcy Kuemper won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche as the team’s starting netminder.
Now, after signing a big five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Capitals over the offseason, Kuemper is finally making his grand return to Ball Arena.
Monday, in his first practice on his former team’s ice since leaving, he told the media that he forgot to check out one major thing.
Kuemper never once looked up to check it out the team’s new Stanley Cup championship banner.
“Actually, you know what, I forgot to even look,” Kuemper said laughing. “I should go back out there.”
Besides getting the championship rings and your name etched on the Stanley Cup, the other major achievement is the banner that gets raised in the winning team’s arena. The Avalanche raised their banner on October 12 in their Home Opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Kuemper was not at the ceremony. Instead, he was making his first start for the Capitals — a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Capital One Arena.
The Caps and Avs will do battle on Tuesday. While head coach Peter Laviolette has not yet announced a starter for the matchup yet, it would be a shock if it isn’t Kuemper. The start would mark Darcy’s first appearance in front of his former fans.
Kuemper sported a 10-4 overall record in the 2022 playoffs for the Avs with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.
“Definitely different being back in the building and I’m looking forward to the game,” Kuemper added. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, it just feels good to be back.
“It’s different than last year that’s for sure,” he continued. “I’ve played against old teams before so you kinda know the drill. It’s not too bad.”
Kuemper has already played against the Avalanche once this season, taking a 4-0 loss to his old teammates at Capital One Arena on November 19. After that game, he and Nicolas Aube-Kubel received their championship rings.
Kuemper currently sports a 14-12-4 record with the Caps this season. The 32-year-old netminder has been great in his first year away from the Avs. He holds a 2.55 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage, and a league-leading five shutouts in 31 total appearances.
He also ranks tenth among all goaltenders in goals saved above expected.
Goals Saved Above Expected Leaders – January 22 pic.twitter.com/rikv2ArF1k
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) January 22, 2023
Screenshot via @Capitals/Twitter
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