It appears as though the Colorado Avalanche will have goaltender Darcy Kuemper back between the pipes when they host either the St. Louis Blues or Minnesota Wild to start the second round next week (link). Kuemper was back at practice today, and while it’s unclear if he would have been able to play had Colorado’s series against the Nashville Predators continued, he will have a few more days to get ready and continue to recover. St. Louis hosts Minnesota tonight in Game 6 of the first round, the Blues holding a 3-2 series lead.
Kuemper was injured late in the first period of Game 3 of round one when Predators forward Ryan Johansen appeared to get his stick blade caught inside of Kuemper’s mask. The goaltender would leave the game, replaced by Pavel Francouz, who started in net for the Avalanche in their series-clinching win in Game 4. An impending UFA, the Avalanche acquired Kuemper this past offseason in a win-now move to give them a star goaltender for this season, perhaps their best chance at a Stanley Cup. Kuemper compiled another strong season in 2021-22, his first with Colorado, posting a .921 save-percentage and 2.54 goals-against average.
- The Florida Panthers announced, per head coach Andrew Brunette, that forward Mason Marchment will not be available when Florida takes on the Washington Capitals in Game 6 tomorrow night (link). The forward had been dealing with a previous injury and was considered a game-time decision for Game 5, a game that he ultimately did not play in. Seeing Marchment move from a game-time decision for Game 5 to being ruled out a day ahead of Game 6 is surely a concern for Florida, as the 26-year-old has provided excellent secondary scoring with a physical game to go along with it, putting up 18 goals and 29 assists in 54 games this season.
- From Rob Simpson of Vancouver Hockey Now, who spoke with Bruce Boudreau, the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks, Boudreau said he hopes to return to the organization next week. Currently, Boudreau is still under contract with Vancouver with whom he has an option to return, and said he plans on confirming his option with Canucks’ President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford and General Manager Patrik Allvin sometime early next week. Boudreau has until June 1st to accept the option. The veteran head coach had also made clear to Simpson that he has spent the last couple of weeks simply taking time off, visiting with friends and family and making other arrangements, and the delay was not tactical in nature. There had been recent rumors about a possible extension with Boudreau, however Rutherford made it clear he would not be interested in extending Boudreau just yet, but was open to the idea of it at some point. What exactly Boudreau thought of that situation was unclear, but it appears now that his primary focus is on returning to the Canucks for the 2022-23 season.