Hearing the Coyotes have completed a deal to send forward Tobias Rieder to the Los Angeles Kings. Not sure on the return yet.— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) February 21, 2018
Shortly after, he confirmed it and added that Coyotes’ backup Scott Wedgewood would be part of the deal and that the Kings’ own backup, Darcy Kuemper would be the return for Arizona.
A requirement of the deal was that Arizona immediately extend Kuemper’s contract, which they did, for another two years at an average cost of $1.85 million a season. Furthermore, the Coyotes retained 15% of Rieder’s salary on his current contract which sees him scheduled to be a RFA by season’s end.
Kuemper, 27, has been among the best backups in the league this season. Having started 15 games, he currently holds a 10-0-3 record along with a 2.10 goals against average and a very healthy .932 save percentage.
Going the other way is Tobias Rieder, somewhat of a fan-favorite who had recently run into hard times. Rieder played 292 games for Arizona, scoring 51 goals and adding 60 assists for 111 points.
Joining him on the move is young backup Scott Wedgewood who the Coyotes acquired from the New Jersey Devils earlier in the season. Wedgewood was serviceable for Arizona during a difficult time in their season, starting 17 games and recording a 3.45 GAA with a .893 Sv% while wearing the Sedona Red.
The rationale behind the trade can mostly be seen as a needed fresh start for Rieder while Kuemper, a more established and experienced backup than Wedgewood, should round out Arizona’s back-end nicely and be ready to act as a starter in the unfortunate event of another injury to starter Antti Raanta.
“Darcy is a big, talented goaltender who is having an excellent year,” general manager John Chayka said of his new goaltender in a press release. “You need great goaltending in this league in order to be successful and with Antti and Darcy, we are confident that we have an excellent tandem for the future.”
The move also frees up a spot on left wing, a position in which the Coyotes have Josh Archibald, Richard Panik & Zac Rinaldo jostling for a spot in the lineup while even more young players wait in Tucson for their turn to be called up.
Kuemper will wear #35 for the Coyotes and will be with the team for their game against the Calgary Flames tomorrow night.