The Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday agreed to send defenseman Conor Timmins, a 2022 first-round draft pick, and a conditional 2024 third-round draft pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for star goalie Darcy Kuemper, a blockbuster trade after goalie Philipp Grubauer signed with the Seattle Kraken earlier in the day.
Kuemper has one year left on the two-year, $9 million deal he signed with Arizona in 2019, and the Coyotes agreed to retain $1 million of the $4.5 million salary due to the netminder this season. Timmins is a restricted free agent, and though he’s battled some injuries, the former second-round pick can help accelerate the rebuild in the desert.
Kuemper Provides Stability After Tumultuous Day
Once the Avalanche lost their goalie to free agency they had to move quickly, so General Manager Joe Sakic snagged up one of the last available bona fide starters available. Sure, it was a hefty price to pay, but the Stanley Cup contenders had virtually no choice if they were to meet expectations this season.
Kuemper has been strong between the pipes since breaking into the league with the Minnesota Wild during the 2012-13 season. He’s spent time with the Wild, Coyotes, and Los Angeles Kings, and has a career Goals-Against Average (GAA) of 2.47, save percentage of .917, and has recorded 20 shutouts. He’s 106-83-32 in 242 career games.
He played solid for the Coyotes this past season, posting a 2.56 GAA and and .907 save percentage while compiling a record of 10-11-3.
It’s hard to believe, but the 31-year-old is just 7-6 in postseason appearances, with a career playoff GAA of 2.86, save percentage of .913, and one shutout. Needless to say, the Avalanche are in good hands.
Coyotes Seemingly Accelerate Rebuild, Add Picks
The Coyotes started this offseason in turmoil, reeling from draft pick sanctions and a near-empty cupboard in terms of prospects. Staring down the throes of a hefty rebuild, GM Bill Armstrong took on what felt like bad contract after bad contract from other teams, all while bolstering Arizona’s upcoming draft positioning.
Mission accomplished. The Coyotes have bolstered their draft standing after dealing Kuemper, as they presently have two first-round picks and five second-round picks set for the 2022 draft, though that could certainly change if they decide to use any of those as bargaining chips in future deals.
Timmins was drafted 32nd overall by Colorado in the 2017 NHL draft and just cracked the league as a regular last season, logging seven points (all assists) in 31 games while averaging about 13:30 of ice time per game. It should be noted that he posted a Corsi-For percentage of 55.2, albeit on a Presidents’ Trophy-winning squad.
The 22-year-old excelled with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL, with his best season coming in 2016-17 after recording 61 points in 67 games.
What it Means For Both Teams
Though the teams are on very different trajectories, the trade serves its purpose for both. The Avalanche are right back in the thick of the championship-contender discussion, while the Coyotes are attempting to build a contender from the ground up.
Both put themselves in the best possible position to do so after this deal, and both are looking good heading into next season — for very different reasons.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.