The Arizona Coyotes won’t say quite how bad it is yet, but things aren’t looking good for Darcy Kuemper. The team placed the goaltender on injured reserve today and Craig Morgan of AZ Coyotes Insider tweeted earlier today that there is fear he could miss as many as four weeks. Kuemper is heading back to Arizona for further evaluation, meaning he’ll likely miss at least the last six games of the current road trip.
The Coyotes have recalled Ivan Prosvetov from the AHL to serve as the taxi squad goaltender while Adin Hill and Antti Raanta take over the active roster duties. Frederik Gauthier and Michael Chaput have also swapped spots between the roster and taxi squad.
Losing Kuemper is a huge blow for Arizona, though not one they should be unfamiliar with. The 30-year-old goaltender has dealt with injuries throughout his entire career, but certainly since arriving in Arizona during the 2017-18 season. Still, he’s also been one of the very best goaltenders in the league during that time, at least whenever healthy enough to be in the net. As a Coyote, Kuemper has posted a .922 save percentage in the regular season and finished in the top-seven of Vezina Trophy voting in each of the last two years.
While Raanta and Hill are certainly talented enough to hold the fort, an injury like this could have interesting trade deadline ramifications. It seemed likely that if the Coyotes ended up selling, at least one of Kuemper or Raanta would be moved, given the latter is on an expiring contract and the former can be a legitimate game-changer. Now, with Kuemper out for a while, those plans could be complicated. The Coyotes aren’t flush with goaltending depth in the organization past Hill, with the 22-year-old Prosvetov having just 34 games of AHL experience under his belt. David Tendeck, the only other goalie signed to an NHL deal, only just started his pro career and hasn’t suited up higher than the ECHL.
With three goalies required at the NHL level (one can be on the taxi squad) at all times, it doesn’t leave a lot of room for moves over the next few weeks.