Coach Mike Yeo says Josh Harding was ill and didn't take part in the pre-game skate on Thursday morning. Niklas Backstrom was announced as the starter against Buffalo for the game Thursday night.
Kuemper is tied for first in the AHL with a .929 save percentage for Iowa.
Harding played the last two games for the Wild after missing four straight games to adjust to medication for multiple sclerosis. Backstrom was in the net for those. Harding leads the NHL in goals against average.
The Wild also placed fourth-line centre Zenon Konopka on waivers and activated defenceman Clayton Stoner from injured reserve. Stoner has missed the last four games because of a lower-body injury.
Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.
— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals