Darcy Kuemper’s groin exploded against Chicago, so birthday-boy Matt Hackett gets his first call of the season to the NHL, where he will backup Backstrom and, according to sources, will get a start in goal on Sunday against the suddenly slumping Vancouver Canucks.
Clutterbuck is back from his injury, so the Wild put Kuemper on IR to make room for Hackett.
Aeros coach John Torchetti is used to not having his top goalies around because of injuries in the system, so this will be nothing new to him. Last year, the Aeros used six goalies and still make the playoffs before getting knocked out by the OKC Barons (Edmonton). Joe Fallon, arguably, single-handedly got the Aeros to the playoffs with a series of wins in March that got the Aeros back on track after they just about completely fell apart.
Hackett has been very good in Houston since Kuemper was recalled because of Harding’s MS flare-ups. Hackett is 19-19-3 with the Aeros this season and sports a 2.56 goals against average and .910 saves percentage. He’s played really well in the NHL before, and he has the right attitude to play in the show. He faltered in January with a big losing streak, but he was not completely at fault as the Aeros were dropping left and right due to injury and the team had just lost several players to the Wild.
And that was right in the middle of the Nick Palmieri episode that eventually saw him shipped to the NY Rangers organization in the Rupp trade.
Bottom line? The Wild have a reliable backup with Kuemper is nursing his injury. But the Aeros will suffer greatly, unless Jim Mill can find a capable fill-in from the ECHL.