The Arizona Coyotes are going all-in on their rebuild. They shipped out their captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, a star forward in Conor Garland, and according to early reports, their starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Let's re-do that tweet: #Avs get G Darcy Kuemper from AZ for D Conor Timmins, a 2022 first-rounder and 2024 conditional third-rounder, per source— Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) July 28, 2021
For Darcy Kuemper, General Manager Bill Armstrong managed to get an astonishingly good return from the Colorado Avalanche.
Goaltenders typically don’t garner much control; reigning Vezina winner Marc-André Fleury only got prospect Mikael Hakkarainen. But if the reports are correct, then Armstrong managed to get a first-round pick in a stacked 2022 draft, a conditional third-round pick, and defenseman Conor Timmins.
Per a tweet from Chris Johnston, the Coyotes will be retaining $1 million of Kuemper’s contract.
The move inarguably makes the Coyotes a worse team next season. Kuemper stole some games for the Desert Dogs, and without him and Adin Hill, they are currently looking at Carter Hutton and Josef Kořenář battling for a starting role.
But the move makes sense for the rebuilding Coyotes. They will likely improve their draft position in 2022 (by, you know, being really bad), and they have another first-round pick. The Avalanche are expected to be a good team next season, so it will likely be a late pick, but if the draft is as deep as they say, they will hopefully still draft a solid prospect.
Today was just the first day of free agency, and General Manager Bill Armstrong has been different. As a result, the team that takes the ice next season will look very different than last season’s team. Ownership is betting on Bill Armstrong to draft the right players next season and rebuild the team the right way.
UPDATE: It's official.