Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong looking to add to thin goalie depth
Goalies are slim pickings for the Arizona Coyotes after the team’s most recent trade.
General manager Bill Armstrong on Wednesday sent one of the best goaltenders in the game, Darcy Kuemper, to the Colorado Avalanche for Conor Timmins, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2024 draft.
The Coyotes were patient, and it paid off.
“We’re kind of the last man standing with one of the most talented goaltenders out there,” Armstrong said in the team’s media availability Wednesday. “So we kind of just held off and held our ground in our negotiations. As it moved along and goaltenders signed, I think it became apparent that he was the big chip that few teams that are contending to win the [Stanley] Cup wanted.”
Kuemper had some of the best seasons of his career in Arizona. He tallied a 2.33 goals-against average and .925 save percentage in 2018-19 and a 2.22 and .928 the following season. His efforts in both years got him votes for the Vezina Award, given to the league’s top goaltender.
The 31-year old finished with a 10-11-3 record, 2.56 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage in his final season in the Valley, which was full of injuries.
“He’s truly just a great teammate, a great person, somebody that wanted to make the Coyotes better every single day he was here,” Armstrong said. “We wish him the best on his new role with the [Avalanche].”
The Coyotes also lost veteran goalie Antti Raanta to free agency. Raanta signed a two-year, $2 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Armstrong and company desperately needed depth at the position, and they filled it with the team’s most recent free-agent signing.
Former Buffalo Sabres goalie Carter Hutton agreed to a one-year contract with the Coyotes on Wednesday.
Hutton recorded a 3.47 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 13 games with Buffalo last season.
In his nine-year career, the 35-year-old has a career 94-88-27 with a 2.71 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 232 games with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and the Sabres.
“That was a big step for us,” Armstrong said. “I have familiarity with him with the Blues, so we’re really excited about that. We’ll continue to work to make our team better every day and see what else comes our way as far as the goaltender depth.”
Hutton may be the No. 1 for now, but he may vie for playing time this season.
On July 17, Arizona swapped goaltenders with the San Jose Sharks, exchanging Adin Hill for Josef Korenar.
Korenar is 23 years old and recorded a 3.17 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 10 games last season.
“He is an athletic goaltender who played very well in the Pacific Division,” Armstrong said after acquiring Korenar. “We look forward to continuing to watch him develop.”