The chances that goaltender Josh Harding will return to the Minnesota Wild this season are uncertain.
Harding was not at practice on Wednesday when the Wild returned from their Olympic break at the Braemar Arena in Edina. According to NBC sports, he has been on injured reserve since Dec. 31.
Wild Coach Mike Yeo told the Pioneer Press, “Obviously, it’s getting difficult. We feel for him right now, but we’re behind him and we just want to see him get better and get ready to get back with us.”
Harding was playing well in net when he was healthy early in the season. He led the league with a 1.65 goals-against average and was third with a .933 save percentage, but he hasn’t played in a game since late December.
He has started just two games since leaving the team on Dec. 18 to have an adjustment in his treatment of multiple sclerosis.
“We haven’t had any of those conversations,” Yeo told the newspaper. “I’m still hoping that every day he’s going to feel better and he’s back in the lineup. But again, we don’t want to pressure him. We want to be here for him, so when he feels better and he’s ready to rejoin us, we’ll be more than happy to have him back.”
Darcy Kuemper has done a nice job filling in. He is 8-3-2 in 12 consecutive starts, posting a 2.46 goals-against average.
The Wild signed goalie John Curry to provide depth with Harding’s health issues.
Harding’s health issues and injuries to goalie Niklas Backstrom have forced the Wild to bring up first-year North American professional Johan Gustafsson on six occasions this year. Signing Curry will help the Wild from having to call up Gustafsson.
The Star Tribune reports the Wild have just 23 games remaining. They play back-to-back games next Thursday and Friday at Edmonton and Vancouver.