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Arizona Coyotes hand Darcy Kuemper a two-year extension

Kuemper is coming off a career year in the desert and he has earned an extension.

Los Angeles Kings v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

The Arizona Coyotes have today announced a new two-year contract extension with goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

Kuemper, 29, is coming off the best season of his professional career, one in which he played 55 regular season games (a career high), had a goals against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of .925, earning a record of 27-20-8 in the process.

Kuemper’s exceptional performances between the pipes kept the Coyotes in the playoff hunt right up until the final week of the season, earning the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native several votes for the Vezina Trophy.

The new extension will see Kuemper earn a nice pay rise, with the 6-foot-5, 215lbs goalie currently holding a cap hit of just $1.85 million.

After the 2019/20 season, the expected opening day starter will earn $3.5 million and then $5.5 million - holding an AAV of $4.5 million until 2022.

The tandem of Kuemper and Antti Raanta is considered to be one of the strongest in the entire NHL and having both of them locked up beyond this season could be a real asset for the organization.

Some teams around the league will only go as far as their goaltenders will take them and the Arizona Coyotes will truly believe that, with both players healthy, the playoffs are the expectation rather than the hope this season and beyond.

Before suffering a season-ending injury in late 2018, Raanta himself had shown some Vezina-worthy performances before Kuemper stepped up and put himself firmly in the conversation for the award for the best goaltender in the league.

Had the Coyotes reached the postseason, Kuemper may have won the award and Rick Tocchet may have earned himself a Jack Adams award in the process.

With both their goaltenders locked up beyond this season, the almost $9 million combined cap hit in 2020/21 may prompt the organization into looking at the potential trade market for Raanta, whose health concerns still a talking point.

If the Coyotes can get some strong performances from Kuemper and Raanta this season, it could certainly open up options for a trade that could potentially see the likes of Adin Hill or Ivan Prosvetov given a look while acquiring an impact skater in the process.

Until that time arises, general manager John Chayka and head coach Rick Tocchet will be quite content with the strong tandem the team has and sit comfortably knowing that Kuemper will be on the books for the next three seasons.