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With Harding hurt, Wild recall Gustafsson — not Kuemper

Oct 25, 2013, 12:33 PM EDT

JohanGustafsson Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild have made an interesting move in the wake of Josh Harding’s injury.

On Friday, the club announced it had recalled goalie Johan Gustafsson from AHL Iowa, passing over their previously preferred goalie recall of choice, Darcy Kuemper.

Gustafsson, 21, was Minnesota’s sixth-round pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. He’s posted a 2-0-0 record with a 1.99 GAA and .935 save percentage with Iowa this season, his first in the AHL after starring with Lulea in the Swedish Elite League last year.

Harding was hurt during Thursday’s 3-1 win over Carolina. Minnesota’s longtime No. 1 goalie, Niklas Backstrom, came on in relief and will likely be re-inserted into his starting position when the Wild take on the ‘Hawks in Chicago this Saturday.

As for Gustafsson, it’s unclear when he’ll get to make his NHL debut, if at all. But the mere fact he’s been recalled says something about the future of Minnesota’s goaltending — Kuemper, who has played very well at the AHL level, looked shaky in a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Oct. 15, allowing three goals on seven shots.

  1. allday420ap - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Very interesting

  2. guitarhunterdude - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Wonder what that picture’s supposed to be about? Something along the lines of “My five-hole is THIS HUMONGOUS BIG,” maybe?

    I think the reasoning for this is that the Wild want Kuemper to get playing time, which he probably won’t get behind Backstrom and Harding (who should be back soon). Kuemper looks good in the AHL, but it’s clear he’s not ready for NHL backup duty yet (and neither is Gustafsson.) Kuemper is further along in his development than Gustafsson, and closer to being ready for the NHL, so the Wild want to get him up to speed ASAP so they can possibly move Backstrom next year and start Gustafsson, who has the higher ceiling, in the AHL. Kuemper will only get seasoning by playing games, and he’ll only get playing time in the AHL.

    • guitarhunterdude - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      My point wasn’t totally clear there. Basically, they’re calling up Gustafsson because they aren’t really expecting to have to use their backup, and they want Kuemper to get playing time. If there’s an injury to Backstrom, or Harding is out long-term and they really need a backup, they’ll probably call up Kuemper. He’s shown more than Gustafsson so far.

  3. purpleguy - Oct 25, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    No real change in the pecking order — Russo said this was because Kuemper was slated to play in Iowa’s game Sunday. Gustafsson actually was pulled in his last start too, so let’s hope Backstrom stays healthy.

  4. allday420ap - Oct 25, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    this guys clearly a magician

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