Darcy Kuemper was all smiles on Thursday after kicking off the first day of training camp with the Colorado Avalanche at Family Sports Center.
The Avs' newly acquired goaltender is adjusting well to Denver and his new club. After solidifying his move to Colorado a few weeks ago, he's enthusiastic to get to work with his new teammates.
"I've felt at home right away, I've felt like a part of the locker room right away," he said.
Making the move from Arizona, Kuemper arrived early to the Mile High City to get a prompt start with his new organization.
"I just try to be positive all the time in all aspects of life and just try to keep a smile on my face. When it is time to work, work," he said. "And when it's time to have fun with the guys, it's time to have fun with the guys."
Kuemper is no stranger to the Avalanche, only now he isn't opposing one of the National Hockey League's top lines of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, he is standing behind them watching them get to work.
"It's nice going against them in practice (MacKinnon, Landeskog and Rantanen), it really pushes you to be your best every day," Kuemper said. "It's going to make me a better goalie facing guys like these on a daily basis. Looking forward to when we get into games having them on my side."
Video: Kuemper after his first official practice with Avs
The Avalanche acquired Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Conor Timmins, a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in late July.
"He was great every time we've played him," MacKinnon said of the newly acquired netminder. "Great personality, great attitude, we're really pumped to have him."
Kuemper will be working closely with goaltending coach Jussi Parkkila as well as the rest of the coaching staff throughout the season to manage his workload and help him perform at the top of his game.
"I like his attitude. I mean, we know what he is in goal. He is a big guy, he has done real well on a team that gave up a significant amount of scoring chances and he is able to hold up in games. He's played really well against us in the past, he had a little bit of injury trouble last year, but nothing serious," head coach Jared Bednar said on Thursday. "I think if he is a guy that can start for us and give us that 50-plus quality starts I think that we are going to get some good goaltending because I think (Pavel Francouz) is ready to go and get back in as well. I love his attitude, work-ethic, I think he is as competitive as any player that we have, and that is coming from his old goalie coach, old GM, coaches, and that's the type of guy that guys will play hard in front of, so we're excited to have him."
The Avalanche has high hopes and expectations for the 2021-22 campaign, setting its eyes on the prize. With Kuemper familiarizing himself with the city and club, he's ready to get the season underway with the same goal in mind.