The Kings and Coyotes have made a trade as Los Angeles has acquired winger Tobias Rieder and goaltender Scott Wedgewood from Arizona in exchange for goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Both teams have announced the swap.
Rieder has struggled this season under new bench boss Rick Tocchet and as a result, he is on pace for the lowest goal total of his career after tallying just eight through 58 games this season. However, the Kings would certainly have cause for optimism that he could bounce back as the 25-year-old has surpassed the 30-point mark in each of the last two seasons. Rieder is set to be a restricted free agent this summer and currently carries a $2.25MM cap hit and a $2.45MM salary; that amount will serve as his qualifying offer in June. The Coyotes are retaining 15% of that contract, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie (Twitter link).
Los Angeles GM Rob Blake has been looking to add to the roster without losing any of his top draft picks and prospects and this deal accomplishes that, similar to the Dion Phaneuf swap with Ottawa last week. Rieder slots in as a versatile middle-six winger that can not only play both special teams units but he can also play on both the left and right side.
This is Kuemper’s first season out of the Minnesota organization and to say he has thrived would be an understatement. In 19 games with the Kings this season (15 starts), he has compiled a 10-1-3 record with a 2.10 GAA and a .932 SV%. He’s making just the league minimum of $650K this season and will earn considerably more than that on his next deal as McKenzie reports (via Twitter) that he will receive $3.7MM on a two-year contract extension with Arizona for an AAV of $1.85MM.
The trade and subsequent new deal for Kuemper gives the Coyotes a little bit more certainty when it comes to the goaltending position with starting netminder Antti Raanta slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Raanta, when healthy, has played quite well for Arizona with a 2.45 GAA and a .924 SV% in 35 games which should have in line for a considerable raise on the $1MM he is receiving this season. The Finnish netminder is set to be an unrestricted free agent in July. Craig Morgan of Arizona Sports adds (Twitter link) that the team still intends to try to re-sign Raanta.
Wedgewood was in his first season with Arizona after being acquired from New Jersey back in late October. He has compiled a 3.45 GAA and a .893 SV% in 20 contests this season. The 25-year-old is also making the league minimum this season and is eligible for restricted free agency with arbitration rights this summer.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was first to report (Twitter link) that a deal between the two sides was close and that a Kuemper extension was likely.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.