Washington Post reporter Roman Stubbs is reporting that the Washington Capitals will be without starting netminder Darcy Kuemper today when they battle the Minnesota Wild. Kuemper left the Capitals practice yesterday with what is being called an upper body injury. He is now listed as day-to-day. Charlie Lindgren will start in Kuemper’s place.
This recent development is a tough break for the Washington Capitals as they currently sit five points back of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Capitals have just 12 games remaining on the season and need to scoop up every point they can if they want to leapfrog the Florida Panthers and the Penguins to grab the final wild card spot.
The Capitals were conservative sellers at the trade deadline after recognizing the precarious position they were in. Despite moving on from several players they have managed to tread water in the difficult Eastern Conference. Should Kuemper be out for any length of time one would have to think that the Capitals will be unlikely to qualify for the postseason.
Kuemper has had a challenging first year in Washington after signing a five-year contract in the offseason on the heels of a Stanley Cup run with the Colorado Avalanche. The Capitals had hopes that he could stabilize their goaltending situation after years of uncertainty between the pipes. Kuemper’s play has been uneven this season as his save percentage has dropped from .921 to .910, while his goals saved above expected has gone from 21 last season to just 7.9 this season. He’s been okay for the Capitals, but given the contract they handed out last summer, his play has been underwhelming.