Good Afternoon Wilderness... Now we have some winter like weather. One of the bigger stories, so far this season, has been the play of Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding.
Harding came into the season listed as the backup goalie behind Niklas Backstrom and he has emerged as the Wild's go-to starter. Harding has played very well. Almost All-Star like.
As we approach the first quarter of the NHL season, Harding has become one of the better goalies in the NHL. Statistically, Harding is near the top of the league in wins, shutouts and GAA. If you don't believe me, take a look for yourself.
Hear me out. Harding is making the case that he could be an All-Star this season. Seriously, I don't see why not? Statistically he has one of the better goalies in the NHL, at this point in the season. Harding has been rock solid in net for the Minnesota Wild. With the injury to Backstrom, one has to wonder where Minnesota would be, if it wasn't for the play of Harding?
Think about that for a moment.
I found this at the Hockey Writers and it kind of sums up Josh Harding's last couple of years.
Kevin Roache, Hockey Writers - Josh Harding was not afraid to answer the bell when Minnesota's pre-season starting goalie Niklas Backstrom was the injury ninja's latest victim. However, Harding's journey is much more complex than a simple slide up the depth chart.
When it appeared that Harding was ready for a break-out season, he tore both his MCL and ACL in a 2010 preseason game. Despite suffering what is often a career-ending injury, Harding continued to rehabilitate and prepare for is shot at stardom.
After completely recovering from his devastating injury, Harding returned to his spot behind Backstrom on the depth chart for the 2011-12 season. Unfortunately for Josh, his friends and family, and the Minnesota Wild organization, this adversity would prove to be minuscule in comparison to Harding's next challenge.
Check out this save by Harding. This is the kind of hockey that Harding has been playing for the Minnesota Wild, so far this season. He's been clutch.
How well has Harding played this season? Let's break down Harding's statistics.
Hardings record 13-3-2, he has a 1.48 goals against average, and a .939 save percentage. That's a pretty good line for the Minnesota Wild goalie. Again, you can compare his numbers against his peers in the NHL by clicking on this link.
If anyone is keeping track at home, that's second in the NHL for goals against average. Sixth overall in the NHL for save percentage and tied for second in wins with three other goalies. Lastly, his two shutouts ties him with six other goalies for second in the NHL. That's a pretty impressive line in my opinion. Who would have thought that Harding would have put up those numbers at the beginning of last season?
So, if you're not convinced yet that Josh Harding is a serviceable NHL goalie, then I don't know what we have to do to change your mind. In my opinion, Harding should be an All-Star goalie in the Western Conference.