Instead, general manager Joe Sakic swung it big, landing Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes, in exchange for defenseman Conor Timmins, a first-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2024.
Who comes out on top of this agreement? Let’s dive into the details and rate each team:
Joe Sakic is widely regarded as one of the best and most capable general managers in the NHL, running an analysis-driven front office in Colorado. While the Avalanche has yet to win the Stanley Cup under his watch, Sakic’s ratio of hits and misses in player staff movements rivaled that of Quentin Tarantino in the film.
What makes the loss of Philipp Grubauer his “The Hateful Eight”, one imagines. Sakic overplayed his hand and then watched the NHL goalie carousel spiral out of control.
Grubauer signed a six-year, $ 35.4 million free agent contract with the Seattle Kraken. “They had their time and they had their opportunity, but at the end of the day we couldn’t do it on time,” he said of his discussions with the Avalanche. Suddenly the Avalanche were without their Vezina Trophy finalist goaltender and running out of viable replacements in the free agent and trade markets.
Except one. “We were the last man standing, with one of the most talented goaltenders,” said Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong. And he took advantage of it against Sakic.
In a sense, the Avalanche gave up assets it could afford to lose. Their pick will most likely be weak in the first round next summer. No one is sure what Timmins turns out to be, but Colorado has a stacked blue line. The third round disappears if the Avalanche does not win the Cup; and if they do, Kuemper must have played 50% of the playoff games.
But now, these are assets that are no longer on the table for future need, say by the trade deadline. All because their starting goalie went free will.
The good news is that Kuemper could be a more than capable replacement. Although his numbers weren’t great last season (record 10-11-3 with a save percentage of .907), he has recorded 44.1 above-average goals over the past three seasons, 12th among all goalkeepers and just ahead of Grubauer (42.5). He actually has the same career save percentage in the playoffs as Grubauer (.913) – maybe that 49-save game he had in the Coyotes’ loss to the Avalanche made an impression. .
So the score remains good because Kuemper can be good, when he is in good health. At $ 3.5 million against the cap in the final year of his contract, there isn’t a huge commitment here, other than what it cost to acquire it. Which, unfortunately, has become a necessity.
Add more choice to the pile, Bill Armstrong. The Arizona general manager has simply done an outstanding job leveraging his team’s few assets and ceiling space to amass a ridiculous collection of draft assets. The Avalanche’s first round gives him two picks in the first in 2022 – and keep in mind that in a disaster, Colorado’s pick isn’t lottery-protected – and five picks in the second round la next season. This is remarkable.
Kuemper was a wanted goalie during the frenzy. Presumably other offers for a pending UFA didn’t go as far as an unprotected first-round player and young roster defenseman like Timmins. Armstrong got both in this trade, as the goalie carousel turned in his favor.
“We just stood firm and maintained our position in the negotiations. As more and more goaltenders signed on it became clear that he was the big chip that other teams that wanted to win the Cup wanted, ”said Armstrong.
The Coyotes currently have the Sabers dismissed Carter Hutton as a starting goaltender. Maybe they add another one. Maybe they’re playing with an empty net. It does not matter ; this team has been reduced to copper pipes, and you have to give Armstrong credit for their tank’s ferocity, uh, “re-equipment.”