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Could Darcy Kuemper be traded this offseason? We examine why the Washington Capitals might move the veteran goalie.

The Washington Capitals are in a state of flux. With another early exit from the playoffs, it’s clear that some changes are in store for the veteran squad. One of those changes could be between the pipes, as NHL insiders like Elliotte Friedman hint that veteran goaltender Darcy Kuemper could be on the trade block this offseason.

While Kuemper was brought in two years ago to be Washington’s starter, things haven’t exactly turned out that way. Here are three reasons the Capitals might consider moving on from Kuemper:

1. Charlie Lindgren’s Emergence

The rise of 30-year-old Charlie Lindgren has been a pleasant surprise for the Capitals. Lindgren stole the starting job from Kuemper and his remarkable performance this season suggests he could be Washington’s goalie of the future. Lindgren costs a fraction of Kuemper’s salary, with a cap hit of only $1.1 million, making him a much more financially attractive option.

2. Kuemper’s Age and Contract

Kuemper turns 34 this year and carries a cap hit of $5.25 million for another three seasons. There’s always a question about how long a veteran goalie can continue to perform at an elite level. With Lindgren’s breakout season, the Capitals could be looking to shed Kuemper’s contract and reallocate the salary towards strengthening other areas of their roster.

3. Rebuilding Possibilities

The Capitals are at a crossroads. While they harbor hopes of making another playoff run, their aging core may make that a challenge. Moving Kuemper could be a signal that the organization is looking towards a partial rebuild. Trading a veteran for younger assets or draft picks might be a prudent move if the Capitals are aiming for long-term success.

Of course, trading Kuemper depends on whether or not a suitable trade partner can be found, and whether the Capitals feel there’s a better option available on the free agent market. But with these factors in play, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kuemper in a different jersey by the start of next season.

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