ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 24: Matt Hackett #31 of the Minnesota Wild allows a goal against St. Louis Blues during a pre-season game at the Scottrade Center on September 24 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Goaltending has never been a problem for the Wild.
The Wild have always found goaltenders to serve as starters for them: Fernandez, Roloson, Backstrom, Theodore. And this wealth of goaltenders doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
Niklas Backstrom is signed for two more seasons and Theodore and Harding is still considered part of the organization till July.
The Wild have never spent a first round pick on a goaltender, and doesn't seem to need to either. Lets see why with our analysis of the goaltenders:
#31 / Goalie / Houston Aeros
Mar 07, 1990
|2010 - Houston Aeros
very athletic ... possesses good size ... covers angles well ... very poised ... good positioning ... needs to be more aggressive ...
Leading the Aeros to its first Calder Cup Finals appearance since 2003, Matt Hackett has stapled himself as the team's number one goalie in his rookie year.
Hackett started out as Anton Khudobin's backup but as the season went on, it was evident that Khudobin's time with the Wild was running out. As such, "Dimples" was shifted off to the Bruins in exchange for Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen, making Hackett the number one guy in Houston.
That says alot for the first year rookie.
And while his numbers aren't the greatest heading into the Calder Cup Finals, he managed to bring the Aeros to where they are now, and no one can argue with results.
#35 / Goalie / Red Deer Rebels
May 5 1990
|2010 - Red Deer Rebels
big size ... good lateral movement ... solid rebound control ... athletic ... considered a project ... needs to develop consistency ...
Lead the WHL in all goaltending statistics? Alright, I guess. Become WHL Goalie of the Year? I'm impressed. Become CHL Goalie of the Year? Where did he come from?
Selected in the 6th round by the Wild in 2009, there was a small scare when there were rumors of a contract dispute between Kuemper's party and the Wild. After it was made clear that Kuemper will go back into the draft instead of becoming a free agent if he refused a contract with the Wild, Kuemper agreed to a three-year entry level deal.
#30 / Goalie / Augsburg Panthers
Jul 14 1985
|2010 - Augsburg Panthers
very athletic ... good rebound control ... quick and agile ... good reflexes ... cover angles well ... very poised ... needs to prove he can play against better opponents
While Dennis Endras could not repeat his WC MVP and Best Goaltender awards, he still managed to help his team overcome Russia, one of the tournament's favorites.
The signing of Endras was a pleasant surprise for Wild fans. His name still relatively unknown, Endras will come next season and fight for the backup position behind Niklas Backstrom.
#30 / Goalie / Västerås IK
Feb 28 1992
|2010 - Västerås IK
...athleticism...good size...quite technically skilled...very agile...moves smoothly in net...very good hockey sense...very capable stickhandler...considered quite raw...improve consistency...
Another potential goalie gem, the Wild's sixth round selection in 2010 has put up good numbers in Sweden's second tier league, splitting time with 28-year old David Sperrle.
Gustafsson has a large frame to work with and will most likely be given all the time he needs to become a good goaltender with the traffic of Hackett, Kuemper and Endras all coming to North America next season.
This is a very good problem to have.
The Wild have three goaltending prospects, all with solid potential, coming to the Wild next season. All three of them will have to fight it out for the backup position with the Wild or end up in Houston.
But the biggest problem is, what to do with the loser out of the three? There is Wild backup, Houston starter and ... Houston backup? Is it smart to let one of our promising goaltending prospects to play backup minutes?
There is the option of splitting time, creating a sense of competition, rewarding the best goaltender, but I would rather have the starter play a ridiculous amount of games to develop him.
So, what do you think?