When Wild fans talk about the future of the franchise, one of the names that gets plenty of time is Matt Hackett. Is he the future starter? Is he in direct competition for that role with Dracy Kuemper? We likely won't know the answer to either of these questions until one of them steals the role away from Niklas Backstrom, or has it handed to them buy Mike Yeo.
You see, goalies are a weird bunch. I know. I used to be one. Coaches generally won't talk about goalies or their play. Players only praise them, never call them out. Fans blame them more than credit them. Answers about goalies aren't easy to come by, and the development of the position is the trickiest in the game. Throw them in too early, and they get eaten alive. Throw them in too late, and you only get a couple of useful years out of them.
Hackett was spectacular in the early goings. Then, the team fell apart on his second stint. Story of the season, eh?
#31 / Goalie / Minnesota Wild
Mar 7, 1990
Nathan- Great start, tough finish, unorthodox and now hurt. He should, however, be a solid NHL player for a long time. But we've said that before.
Bryan- This kid is either going to be phenomenal, or a complete and total disaster. The start he had, and the game he is capable of... they leave Wild fans drooling for more. But it seems the brass is not quite ready to hand him the backup role just yet. Still, Hackett looks to be pretty solid, though he needs to work on controlling his rebounds a bit.
Jesse- While the sample size was fairly small, Hackett has shown that he has the swagger to do it at the NHL level. Don't let the 3-6 record fool you. His 2.38 GAA and .922 SV% is unreal considering that this was his first foray into the NHL. Even in the AHL, Hackett is used to being a workhorse. He went into the AHL All-Star Game with the most saves and most shots faced of any AHL goalie. He showed incredible poise when he came in and blanked the Sharks after Harding suffered another injury. Yes, there were rookie mistakes made, but considering that goaltenders take forever to develop and that NHL goalie is probably the hardest position to learn, Hackett is well on his way to being a stud for the Wild. I mean, he's 22 years young. He's still got years before the Wild and the fans see his peak. Excuse me while I wipe up my drool.
Grade - B+