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Wilderness Walk: Goalie Battles

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Stalock ready to fight for his job and other goalie news

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Imagine your own job operated in a similar environment to the NHL. Right now you would be enjoying a months-long offseason, which sounds pretty nice. Of course, you could be traded to a rival company at almost any time. Fans would take a critical eye towards every aspect of your performance. Possibly the toughest aspect though would be the competition from the players below you on the depth chart, looking for their chance to prove they deserve your job. Forget to file that TPS report and suddenly there’s a 22 year-old kid sitting at your desk.

Maybe you thrive under that sort of competitive environment. Iron sharpens iron after all. But everyone is capable of a having a bad day or two. Under a NHL-type environment, you better not let them happen too often or string them together for very long.

That’s the situation that Alex Stalock now finds himself in, as the acquisition of Andrew Hammond is meant to provide more depth to the Wild’s netminding. Despite his one extremely hot season, Hammond realistically wasn’t brought on board to challenge for Devan Dubnyk’s starting gig. No, he’s gunning for Stalock’s backup job to start.

While the depth at goalie is necessary, because the Wild’s roster and pipeline is thinner at that position than anywhere else, providing Stalock with a challenger didn’t strike me as an essential move this offseason. Stalock performed well enough last season, and I don’t think anyone was suggesting he was lacking the focus that bringing on a rival for his job provides. What is arguably more essential is filling out the goalie prospect pipeline. It is dangerously shallow and prior to Hammond’s acquisition, couldn’t even provide a plausible replacement should Dubnyk or Stalock be injured. Getting Hammond is a start, but I hope Paul Fenton has plans to do more. The goaltending problem in Minnesota might not rear its head this coming season, but don’t be mistaken, there are some major storm clouds forming on the horizon.

Wild News

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Bring it: Stalock welcomes challenge for Wild's back-up goalie spot - StarTribune.com
Alex Stalock finished last season as the Wild's backup goalie. But he'll battle with recently signed Andrew Hammond for the No. 2 spot behind Devan Dubnyk.

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