Home Kings Do the Kings Finally Have Their No. 1 Goaltender Since Quick?

Do the Kings Finally Have Their No. 1 Goaltender Since Quick?

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When the Los Angeles Kings acquired goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Washington Capitals for forward Pierre-Luc Dubois straight up, they brought in a goaltender with experience and a Stanley Cup ring.

Do the Kings have the answer for their issues between the pipes?

Kings’ Kuemper Returns to Los Angeles After the Trade

Los Angeles had steady goaltending early last season, but halfway through, it fell off a cliff. Cam Talbot was the Kings’ lone All-Star selection last season and was reduced to average play the rest of the season. Backup David Rittich was also solid but could not keep up the pace the entire season. The question became what would happen with the goaltending position in the off-season.

With a disappointing first season in Los Angeles, Dubois became a trade piece and would quietly be shopped around. He had been traded to the Boston Bruins for goaltender Linus Ullmark, but Ullmark refused to waive his no-trade, nullifying the deal. The Capitals were willing partners and made the exchange one-for-one.

Kuemper returns to Los Angeles after spending part of the 2017-18 season as a backup to Jonathan Quick. Kuemper posted a record of 10-1-3 with a 2..10 goals-against-average and a .932 save percentage. He was then traded to the Arizona Coyotes for Tobias Rieder and goaltender Scott Wedgewood.

With this acquisition, the Kings bring in a goaltender who has experience as a number one and in the backup role. He won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2022 and has the ability to regain the starter role again with the Kings. While Rittich is a solid goaltender, he is not a number one.

That raises the question if Kuemper is a clear-cut number one, or will General Manager Rob Blake seek a true starter in free agency?

Blake may run with Kuemper and Rittich to start the season, with Kuemper assuming the starter role and seeing where this duo can take them. If this tandem does not work out by the 2025 trade deadline, Blake could make a move to strengthen that position.
Kuemper had a bad season in Washington last season, but he can regroup and put together a good season.

PHOTO: Getty Images

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