Avalanche, Darcy Kuemper discussing contract

The Colorado Avalanche are pushing to re-sign several of their outstanding unrestricted free agents, including goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reports Avalanche CEO Joe Sakic met with Kuemper representatives Wednesday morning in Montreal, and while there’s still no deal, both sides want to keep talking as we move toward free-agent madness.

Kümper, 32, is one of only four true UFA goalkeepers to make starting opportunities (although each has their own question marks), alongside Marc-Andre Fleury, Ville Husso and Jack Campbell. Given his performance in the playoffs — good, but not great — it would certainly make sense for him to stay where powerhouse Avalanche can offer the best odds of another championship.

Still, the Avalanche probably don’t want to spend the same money or years that Kuemper might land elsewhere, as they have some other big names to sign this year and next. Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen stand out this year (assuming Nazem Kadri has priced himself in), while Nathan MacKinnon is set to sign a massive extension.

The same situation played out last summer when Philipp Grubauer landed a massive deal from the Seattle Kraken that the Avalanche couldn’t match. They needed the money to keep Gabriel Landeskog and proved they can win with another keeper. Given that history, Kuemper’s camp will know that Sakic is ready to walk away if the number gets too high.

Though it’s unclear what Colorado’s next move would be if that happens, LeBrun writes that folks in the league see the Avalanche as the “perfect landing spot” for Fleury should Kuemper freelance elsewhere.

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