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Contract talks stalled between Kuemper, Wild

Jul 30, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Darcy Kuemper AP

Sounds as though Minnesota and RFA goalie Darcy Kuemper are at an impasse regarding his new deal.

From the Star-Tribune:

[Wild GM Chuck] Fletcher admitted though that he hasn’t talked much with Kuemper’s agent since he surprisingly elected not to file for arbitration July 5.

A path toward a possible arbitration date would have at least guaranteed a settlement on a one- or two-year contract and would have assured that Kuemper would be signed by the commencement of camp Sept. 18. Now, a holdout — or at least the threat of one — is a possibility.

It’s not terribly surprising things have gone this way. Kuemper probably figured he held leverage given Minnesota’s uncertainty in goal — Ilya Bryzgalov won’t be brought back, while Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding both have health concerns — and Kuemper did bail the Wild out of a few emergency situations this year, posting a 12-8-4 with a 2.43 GAA and .915 save percentage.

Head coach Mike Yeo also anointed Kuemper the No. 1 goalie to open the playoffs, and he responded by going 3-1 with a 2.03 GAA and one shutout before being sidelined by a concussion.

That said, Fletcher still isn’t of the belief Kuemper’s established himself as a bonafide big-league ‘tender.

“Darcy has great potential and played very well in stretches for us [last] season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league, and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.”

According to the Star-Tribune’s Mike Russo, this isn’t the first time Kuemper’s contract talks with Minnesota have come to a grind. Russo said Kuemper’s agent “battled” the Wild three years ago on his entry-level deal.

  1. maddog107us - Jul 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    they better get this guy signed he IS the future of this team!

  2. wutangwild - Jul 30, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Sheeeeeeeeeit – Clay Davis

  3. nikk1977 - Jul 30, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    In my opinion, Kuemper is an average goalie who did a nice job holding the fort last season and exceeded expectations… I am not sold that this guy is legit and can’t blame Fletcher for his stance. I’m thinking 1.5 million a year at most.

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      I agree, he has got to show me more… Has not played enough games to get the big bucks yet.. he should wise up

      Here is a thought if he does not want to sign with the Wild see if Broduer would come here as he still has 2 sons down at Shattuck St Marys in Fairabault and 60 miles isnt far for him to visit his sons… I know he would want big bucks to play here and the Wild cant afford it, but it would be nice to have that veteran in goal….too bad they signed Backstrom for 3 long years as his age is catching up with him

      • keithballardisagreatdefenseman - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:18 AM

        Please no Brodeur. At 42 years old, his age has most definitely caught up with him. His best years are loooong gone. I’d rather take an aging Backstrom than a washed-up and probably expensive Brodeur., I’d even take Bryz back before Marty.

      • keithballardisagreatdefenseman - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:20 AM

        Please no Brodeur. At 42 years old, his age has most definitely caught up with him. His best years are loooong gone. I’d rather take an aging Backstrom than a washed-up and probably expensive Brodeur. Heck, I’d even take Bryz back before Marty.

  4. strictlythedanks - Jul 30, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Fletcher is right, I’d love Kuemper resigned but at a high price it is too risky for how little he has played and his somewhat streaky play.

  5. pjblake2redwings - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    30 games and this guy thinks he is worthy of a big pay day… Keep dreaming buddy. Sign a 2 year deal, put up some W with a decent GAA and then you can come back with this b.s.

  6. fightingwild - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    I am sure he will sign. Where can he play? Europe? The KHL? This kid would be stupid to try & bully Fletcher & the Wild. There are plenty of goaltenders looking for work. Just sign already, put your time & work in & then get the payday, just like Pjblake said.

  7. nolockoutpricks - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    hes out of his mind if he thinks hes gonna a homerun. gave up a lot of soft goals and as good defensively the wild are they made bryz look great. smarten up

  8. drupac87 - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:38 PM

    It’s safe to say fletch has established himself as one of the top GM’s in the league although I believe kemp deserves a bit more credit for what he has already accomplished.

  9. maddog107us - Jul 30, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    I sure hear a lot of complaining, I’m not saying this guy needs big money just yet, but I mean who we gonna have as our goalie? Backy who’s becomming older, weaker and slower with every passing season and looked rusty at best last year. Or do you want a solid goalie in josh harding? Who will be benched at any point due to MS unfortunately and that makes him unreliable. Or do you play it smart choose the BEST option available and who has done some pretty crazy things in those 30 short games. All in all I’m putting my money on kuemper. He’s younger, quicker and got plenty of potential. #LetsMakeAnotherRun

    • rsmaggiemae - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:55 PM

      It would be nice to get Brodeur as a veteran in goal

      • guitarhunterdude - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:31 PM

        If it’s the same washed-up Brodeur who was absolutely atrocious in Jersey last year, I want no part of him. Let some other team be stupid enough to pay/play him for “leadership” or whatever.

  10. guitarhunterdude - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    I can’t imagine he’s trying to hold out for big money or term; my guess is that Fletcher wants him on a two-way deal so he doesn’t have to have three goalies on the team. If that’s the case, I’m actually on Kuemper’s side here; It might suck to be stuck with three goalies, but Fletcher made his bed when he signed a washed-up Backstrom to a bad contract, and now he’s got to sleep in it. I’d prefer Kuemper to be in Minnesota forcing Yeo not to play Backstrom, at any rate.

    • nolockoutpricks - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      He is holding out for a big contract I’m hearing 4-5 million per year. Plus it doesn’t really matter on the two way deal he doesn’t have to clear waivers to go to Iowa if he’s signed on a one way.

      • guitarhunterdude - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        4-5, PER?! Kid’s lost his damn mind.

      • clarke16 - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:57 AM

        Make him a qualifying offer at the mandated 110% of last year’s $$$ to maintain his rights and let him rot in his living room playing Xbox while others’ are given the opportunity. No one will float him an offer sheet @ anything close to $4M/yr. It usually pays in the long run not to be stupid and overshoot your wad–especially when your name is *Darcy* :)

      • awstafki - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:48 PM

        There is no way he is trying to get $4 mil a year and I haven’t seen that reported anywhere. Lehner, a slightly younger goalie with a little more NHL experience just got 3 yrs, $7 mil. The Lehner deal is the kind of deal Kuemper probably wants, but Fletcher isn’t willing to give. 2 yrs, $3.5 mil is more likely.

  11. sviginak - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:31 PM

    IMO, Backstrom had an injury that wasn’t fixed right the first time. It probably is fixed right now. Harding might have his meds squared away. If both of those statements are true, those two can cover goalie this year. If not, something else has to be done. Keumper hasn’t shown he deserves a big contract, he does deserve a decent two year gig around 1.5m per. All this hammering on Backstrom being washed up and worthless, wondering where do those ‘facts’ come from.

    • wutangwild - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:42 AM

      Those are two VERY big “ifs” regarding Hards and Backstrom. I don’t know what he’s demanding but I would think the issue is one-way vs two-way contract. Darcy seems like a good kid but I heard his agent is very aggressive. If he is demanding 4 mil as someone said, then good luck to him elsewhere cause he hasn’t earned that kind of money. Also, did you see Backstrom last year? He might have had a down year, but at his age and injury history it is worth some concern.

  12. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:09 AM

    Lots of speculation. My question is, is there any news on Josh? I searched and have not seen anything since May.

    • fightingwild - Jul 31, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Russo had a blurb from Fletch on Harding a few weeks back. It basically said Hards meds were dialed in & he felt fantastic. He would be ready for training camp.

      • spiciercheez - Jul 31, 2014 at 1:22 PM

        Isn’t that very similar to last season? Sadly I think he’s got to hang em up and focus on his health. Not to mention he’s putting the Wild in a tough spot with having him on roster and never truly knowing where his health is. We shall see…

      • fightingwild - Aug 1, 2014 at 7:17 AM

        Sadly it is & I feel the same way. I always like Harding & the way he plays but it probably is time. I am sure it is tough for him to to see all his hopes & dreams going down the drain just as they start coming true. His situation is a bad tv movie. Set to become the number 1 goalie & plays his best hockey of his career & is diagnosed with a life threatening incurable disease? I for one would be angry & screaming at whatever deity would listen.

  13. clarke16 - Jul 31, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Darcy’s agent chose not to file for arbitration because he knew there is no way an arbitrator would award the terms he is apparently seeking. He’s apparently playing this like he has the Wild over a barrel–which is far from the case…

    I’d set a hard deadline for them to come to the table with reasoned terms–then, if they don’t come through, make an example out of him and let him rot the season away in the AHL…

    • fightingwild - Jul 31, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      Without a contract he cannot play in the AHL or the NHL. His only options are two sit on his butt or sign & play both NHL & AHL Games for a reasonable rate or go to KHL or Europe.

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