The Minnesota Wild’s Goaltender Crisis

You probably just read that headline, and now you’re thinking: “this girl is absolutely insane. The Minnesota Wild have the best goalie in the league right now.” And you would be correct. The Wild do have one of the hottest netminders in the league, but what happens when you have the hottest goaltender and no backup?

Dubnyk to the Rescue

Last night, Devan Dubnyk made his 22nd consecutive start, continuing to shatter the franchise record for the Minnesota Wild. Since he was acquired on January 14, Dubnyk has started every game for Minnesota, earning a 16-3-1 record. That’s incredible.

What’s even more incredible is that Dubnyk’s presence has helped the Wild storm back into the playoffs. In a little over a month with Dubnyk in net, this team has gone from close to the bottom of the Western conference to fifth place, surpassing the Winnipeg Jets with their win over Washington last night.

Devan Dubnyk Arizona Coyotes
Former Arizona Coyote Devan Dubnyk has been breaking records left and right for the Minnesota Wild, but he may be needing a night off in the near future. (Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota was a long-shot to make the playoffs before Dubnyk was in the picture, but now this team looks unstoppable.

All of this sounds great. And it is great. Dubnyk has been nothing short of amazing for this team. But surprisingly, he isn’t superhuman, and that means he does need a night off at some point.

Backstrom? Kuemper?

This brings up the question: who starts for the Minnesota Wild in place of Kuemper? Or does Mike Yeo just keep playing Dubnyk and risk running his starting goaltender into the ground when the team needs him the most?

Now I know Kuemper and Backstrom are both perfectly capable of stopping pucks (I think), but the Wild have so much confidence on the ice right now. I’m terrified of what will happen if something disrupts this team’s streak.

Now I may be exaggerating in thinking this could be a crisis. It’s not like Minnesota is pulling some random guy off the street and sticking him in net so Dubnyk can have the night off, but it has been a

Darcy Kuemper
Darcy Kuemper started the season as the Wild’s starting goaltender, but quickly lost his ability to help Minnesota win games. (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

while since anyone else was in the net.

According to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press, Darcy Kuemper would be expected to get the start if Dubnyk gets the night off:

If Dubnyk doesn’t play in Carolina Friday, Darcy Kuemper will likely get the nod. He hasn’t started a NHL game since Jan. 6, although he spent two weeks in the AHL on a conditioning stint at the end of January and beginning of February.

Who knows, Kuemper may come out and surprise everyone. But worrying about if your goaltender can stop a puck isn’t going to instill confidence in the rest of the team. In the long run, the Minnesota Wild need to find a stable back-up option. Devan Dubnyk has been on fire, but he can’t do it all by himself.

The Wild play the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with this situation.


14 thoughts on “The Minnesota Wild’s Goaltender Crisis”

  1. All the Wild is saying they don’t want to burn out Dubs. Well with that mentality is the reason you finish in the bottom. You make money you play, you make big money you play hurt. Enough of this pussy stuff suck it in and get the 18,000 per game because you are winning.

  2. He plays every game from here on out. Only reason to pull him is if he lets in three or four in a row, which I don’t see happining

  3. you’re making something out of nothing….he’s gonna a rest and they’ll play Keumps but I don’t expect a melt down from Keumper…really I don’t

  4. Backstrom won’t touch the ice again this year. The Wild can’t run the risk of him injuring himself. I believe they can get out of the last year of his contract as long as he doesn’t hurt himself. Kuemper could spell Dubs if needed but why not ride the hot goalie? He isn’t facing a lot of shots on net as the defense in front of him has stepped up their play. I am more worried about the health of the rest of the roster.

  5. That’s like saying Minneapolis is “The White Lie”. pure hyperbolic rhetoric. Kuemps, although as shaky as an 87-year old whisky fiend, has shown he can play when confident and with the way the whole team is playing now, he oughta feel that way if given the chance.
    Backstrom…umm yeah no defense offered.

  6. Because the Wild don’t play every day the Goalie gets a break. Problem(that wasn’t there) is gone.

  7. So The other 18 guys playing every night don’t get tired? The record, in case anyone doesn’t know, is 502 consecutive starts by a goaltender during an era when he didn’t wear a mask.

  8. i DON’T SEE WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS REALLY. Baseball players play straight through for 6 months with very few days off. Hell they don’t give the forwards and defensemen the night off, and those guys exert themselves for a third of the game or better. Suter plays more then 1/2 the game and they don’t think twice about it.

    I’m sure Doobie is fine with playing a back to back and would rather just keep things going. Why mess with whats working.

    • Baseball requires 1/6 of the physicality of hockey. sorry but most baseball players spend most of the game wither standing around the outfield or sitting on the bench…

    • Baseball is NOT hockey, a little easier on the body I would say. Pitchers don’t play back to back because their movement is so strenuous. I feel goalies to be similar. I don’t think we need to panic and I am sure Doobs is fine, but I do worry a little that he will get sore or have issues in the playoffs if we keep riding him like this.

    • OMG, like baseball and hockey goaltending is similar in physical demands to playing baseball on a regular basis. LOL

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