Darcy Kuemper Gains Depth for Save (Analysis)

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Darcy Kuemper, goaltender for the Los Angeles Kings, makes a nice save versus the Anaheim Ducks early in the 2017-18 season.

In this piece, we’re going to go over a quick adjustment by Kuemper and how that helps put him in position to force a shot and make a nice glove save.

Young goalies can learn a lot from Kuemper’s pre-save positioning/skating and how he tracks the puck through the slot area.

Here’s the clip we’ll be going over.

In this clip, the Ducks are working along the glove side of Darcy Kuemper, going from the goal line to the point and back down low before a quick pass to the slot.

A couple things we’ll key on in this breakdown are going to be the head trajectory and how Kuemper watches the puck, as well as his foot movement in making this save. In addition, how well he gains depth while keeping a composed body and his eyes on the puck.

Also, when you’re watching the video, skip back and forth between just the first 1-6 seconds. Once you’ve watched it 5-6 times, watch the entire video through.

In this first screenshot, we’re just going to note Kuemper’s position as the puck travels down low and to the high slot area. Kuemper has himself in an athletic position with his eyes locked on the puck and he’s just about to transition to his left post.

The puck goes into the corner where it’s quickly moved to the slot.

At this point, Kuemper has followed the puck to the corner and put himself in a position to make the save.

Note his left skate, right up against the pipe. Kuemper knows exactly what he’s doing here, having done this thousands of times, so he’s got his own way of playing the dead angle shot. I like this because of his 6’+ frame and his ability to read the threat down low. To be crystal clear, if this shot comes from the dead angle, he knows exactly what type of save he’s making (whether it be VH or RVH).

The pass heads across the slot, Kuemper follows it with his eyes, and makes the save.

Not so fast.

Take a look at seconds 3 to 4.

Instead of taking a long drawn out t-push across the slot, Kuemper explodes to the angle by pushing and pulling his feet, all the while staying square to the shooter.

Notice his hands and his stick. Not flailing around aimlessly, but controlled and calm as he moves to cut down the angle.

Lastly, in the bottom two images, we see him gain a bit of depth to challenge the shooter. Even 4-6 inches makes a tremendous amount of difference and allows him to appear larger than life from the pucks perspective. Had the shooter here tried to go into a corner near his shoulder, Kuemper would’ve ran into the puck and made the save.

Instead, he flashes the glove and draws a whistle.

Have a save we should review? Let us know (info at goaliecoaches.com)