Former Coyotes goalies Mike Smith, Darcy Kuemper meet for trip to Stanley Cup
The 2021-22 season left a lot to be desired for the Arizona Coyotes, who finished the year with a 25-50-7 record that resulted in receiving the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
On top of the season the Coyotes had, two players who used to man the net in the Valley are four wins away from a berth to the Stanley Cup Final.
Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith and Colorado Avalanche netminder Darcy Kuemper’s teams go head-to-head in the Western Conference Finals beginning Tuesday night.
Both goalies spent significant portions of their careers in Arizona, with Smith playing six seasons for the Coyotes. Kuemper was in net just a season ago.
For Smith, it’s the first time the 40-year-old goalie has made the conference finals since he did so with the Coyotes in the 2011-12 season.
The Coyotes would lose to the Los Angeles Kings in five games, who would go on to win the Stanley Cup.
Smith, however, was stellar during the Coyotes’ run to the conference finals, posting a 1.99 goals against average and recording three shutouts.
These playoffs have been up-and-down for the veteran goalie, with Smith having an 8-3 record with a 2.70 GAA but only a .927 save percentage.
In the Oilers’ last series against the Calgary Flames, Smith was pulled in Game 1 but was able to turn his play around.
Edmonton won the next four games of the series, with Smith having over 29 saves in each win.
As for Kuemper, he was able to help the Avalanche get past the second round after three straight years of being eliminated in the conference semifinals.
It’s the goalie’s first year in Colorado, after the Coyotes traded him after four seasons for a first-round pick, defenseman Conor Timmins and a conditional 2024 draft pick.
Kuemper helped lead the Avalanche to the best record in the Western Conference, winning 37 of his 57 starts.
He’s won six games in net these playoffs while posting a 2.44 GAA. His save percentage has been shaky, however, at .904.
Kuemper won 55 career games in net for the Coyotes.
Whichever goalie advances will get the opportunity to play for the Stanley Cup for the first time in their career.