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Wilderness Walk: Gustavsson stars, Spacek signs

Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL.

Minnesota Wild v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images

Filip Gustavsson has been nothing short of spectacular and the best part is that this was not expected at all. We all knew there was some potential as a once-highly regarded goaltender prospect while he was in the Pittsburgh Penguins system and then traded to the Ottawa Senators; but nothing like this.

At 24 years old, Gustavsson has 29 appearances in NHL games (a career-high) and has earned a .933 save percentage and a 1.99 goals against average. Those are some elite Vezina Trophy-earning numbers if they were stretched to 25 to 30 more games. Per MoneyPuck, he ranks fifth in Goals Saved Above Expected (a metric used that includes the expected goal of each shot a goaltender faces) with a 21.0 GSAx. The only goalie that rank above him are Linus Ullmark, Ilya Sorokin, Juuse Saros, and Connor Hellebuyck — those are all netminders that either have Vezinas or will in their future.

Should we start thinking about that as Gustavsson’s future? Maybe we’ll wait until he hits 100 NHL games played, because we all know goalies are weird.

That’s Wild

  • In other news, the Minnesota Wild have signed defenseman prospect David Spacek to his three-year, entry-level contract. He shined during the World Juniors tournament this year with Czechia and since he just turned 20 years old, he will be eligible to play in the AHL next season. [Wild PR]
  • John Klingberg is the anti-Minnesota Wild defenseman, but that’s a good thing to bring to this group. [10K Rinks]

Off the trail...

  • Minnesota Wild legend Ryan O’Reilly has suffered a broken finger and is out long-term just a few games into his stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Will he be back in time for the playoffs? Nobody knows. [ESPN]
  • Hart Trophy favorite, Connor McDavid, just set his career-high in points last night. There are still so many games to play. This dude is a freak. [Yahoo Sports]
  • Thank you Tyler Toffoli! The Calgary Flames winger scored with just five seconds left of regulation to win last night’s game over the Dallas Stars. Now, the Wild are three points back of the Stars for the top spot in the Central, but have a game in-hand.
  • In a sitdown interview, top prospect Connor Bedard opened up about his late grandfather’s inspiration. [NHL dot com]
  • Forget a silly little retool, the Vancouver Canucks just need to tear it down and start over. [Yahoo Sports]