“Very excited about the new opportunity,” Kuemper said on Wednesday in a video conference call. “This is a team that can win it. It’s always so much fun to be a part of. I’m really looking forward to getting started. It’s going to be a short summer, but I can’t wait to get there and meet the guys.”
Colorado could have made an effort to retain Kuemper, but chose to go in a different direction in trading. Former New York Rangers goalkeeper Alexander Georgiev last week. The avalanche also re-signed several free agents to lucrative deals to keep its core intact.
Kuemper hasn’t revealed how many other teams have expressed interest in him, but he said as soon as he learned that Washington was interested, he immediately filmed himself in the area.
“This is where I wanted to go out of all the options, and I’m really excited that we were able to get something done,” Kuemper said.
Comber said several players in Washington have texted him to welcome him. Part of the capitals’ appeal was Nuwat’s experience winning the Stanley Cup.
“He’s had a lot of good years, and he’s had a lot of good performances,” said Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan. “He seems to be a good person, a good character, a good team man. I think that’s exactly what we needed for the next year.”
Washington also ended the side-by-side goal-setting process on Wednesday, signing reserve goalkeeper Charlie Lindgren to a three-year, $3.3 million deal. Lindgren, 28 years old She played in five NHL games last season with the St. Louis Blues And he went 5-0-0 with 1.22 goals against the average and 0.958 goals. He spent most of the season with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League.
“We loved his performance last year,” McClellan said. “I know there weren’t a lot of games, but we think there was some upswing in goal, so we gave them a three-year period because it was competitive for him, and I think there were a lot of teams that were looking at him, he was coming up with a good number, he was a good performer. Last year but the number of matches is limited. We think he can continue to play well.”
The Capitals were not looking for one but two custodians through a free agency. they traded Vitek Vanessek to New Jersey last week and elected Non-extension of a qualified offer to Ilya Samsonov on Monday.
Samsonov’s decision came as a bit of a surprise. McClellan spoke with reporters last week and insisted that Washington plans to give Samsonov a qualified bid.
Instead, Samsonov, 25, went into the open market on Wednesday and signed a one-year contract worth $1.8 million. Dealing with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as they seem likely to back Matt Murray.
As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, the Capitals believed Samsonov might have seen his 2022-23 salary jump into the $3 million to $3.5 million range had the team made a qualifying bid. This was more than Washington wanted to spend on Samsonov in a backup role.
Goaltender Pheonix Copley has also moved out of Capitals, signing a one-year one-way contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
“I feel comfortable with what we have now,” McClellan said. “I think we had two good goalkeepers [in Vanecek and Samsonov]. The guys were good. I think it’s a little disappointing that I wish someone would take first place. And it looked like one or the other was going, but they didn’t quite do it, and I think we ran out of time waiting for it.”
The goalkeeper market was changing rapidly early Wednesday, as Jack Campbell signed the Edmonton Oilers in a five-year, $25 million deal. He thought Campbell was a possibility for the Capitals before Kuemper was signed.
Washington also made a surprise deal late Wednesday, capturing winger Conor Brown from Ottawa in the 2024 second round. Brown, 28, scored 10 goals and 29 assists last season in 64 games for the Senators. Brown, who has one year left on his $10.8 million three-year deal, will become an unrestricted free agent next season. The right-winger is expected to be in the Washington squad and could see time in the front row.
The Capitals made two moves to bolster their blue streak, first signing defender Eric Gustafson for a one-year deal worth $800,000. Gustafson played 59 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season He scored three goals and 15 assists.
Gustafsson, the left defender, is expected to play Trevor van Rimsedijk in the third duo. Washington needed to fill a hole in the squad after defender Justin Schultz, who became an unrestricted free agent Wednesday, signed a two-year contract with Seattle Kraken.
Capitals striker Marcus Johansson also signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal late Wednesday, leading to further progress. Washington acquired Johansson on Deadline Trade in March. He produced three goals and three assists in 18 matches.
The Capitals has also added players to two-player deals, which means a player gets a reduced salary when in the AHL. Defenseman Matt Irwin, 34, has re-signed with the team on a one-year, two-way deal. Finnish striker Henrik Burgstrom, 24, also signed a two-way, one-year deal. The Blackhawks bought the final year of Borgstrom’s contract, which was worth $1 million, on Tuesday. Burgstrom scored seven points in 52 games with the Blackhawks last season.
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