Mar 8, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding (37) is helped off the ice during the second period against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
Josh Harding suffered a lower body injury in Thursday night's victory for the Minnesota Wild. Considering he was already the backup goalie and playing because Niklas Backstrom is hurt, it puts Minnesota in a tough position.
The Minnesota Wild finally won a game on Thursday night, but it came at a cost. The Wild are already without goalie Niklas Backstrom and now it seems his backup, Josh Harding, could miss time with an injury as well.
Backstrom is already out for 2-4 weeks and Harding's injury, a "tweaked" something in the lower body, could cause some major concerns in the Minnesota locker room. Third-string goaltender Matt Hackett is already up for the Wild, and finished the game, earning the win. NHL teams prefer to suit two goaltenders up for each game, however, and the Wild play again on Sunday.
Calling the minor league affiliate Houston Aeros is an option, but fourth in line Darcy Kuemper happens to also be injured. This means of the top four goalies in the Wild system, three of them are hurt in some manner. The Aeros have ECHL players on professional tryouts, but to be called up to the Wild, they would need to be signed to an NHL contract. Is that the best option? Could they turn to 51-year-old Paul Deutsch, who they signed to a one day PTO earlier this year? Are there free agent goalies available that could be brought in after clearing waivers?
The Wild have options, but none of them are very good. If Josh Harding can even sit on the bench while the State of Hockey prays nothing happens to Hackett, that is the most likely option. Chuck Fletcher has a choice to make, and not much time to make it.
It always seem like things can't get much worse for the Wild and then? They do.