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Below average goalie play has Wild on the ropes; trade rumors?

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Darcy Kuemper's brutal stretch of play continued Tuesday night as he allowed a soft goal in overtime of a 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

The goal, described by Michael Russo of the Star Tribune as a 43-foot shot from above the left circle, was one that head coach Mike Yeo wasn't pleased with.

“We’re not in a position where we can have anybody be below average, and it always starts and ends with goaltending,” Yeo said. “It’s a tricky one trying to be sensitive to his confidence, but that goal in overtime can’t go in.”

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Kuemper's save percentage is a very mediocre .902, good for 53rd in the NHL. His backup, Niklas Backstrom, is actually worse. The veteran's save percentage is .896, good for 60th in the league, according to NHL.com.

Here's a look at Kuemper's past 10 games, showing the result of the game and the number of goals he's allowed.

  • Dec. 3: 2-1 win over Montreal; 1 goal allowed
  • Dec. 5: 5-4 loss to Anaheim; 5 goals allowed
  • Dec. 11: 2-1 loss to San Jose; 2 goals allowed
  • Dec. 20: 6-5 loss to Nashville; 3 goals allowed
  • Dec. 23: 5-2 loss to Philadelphia; 4 goals allowed
  • Dec. 29: 3-2 win over Winnipeg; 2 goals allowed
  • Dec. 31: 3-1 loss to Columbus; 2 goals allowed
  • Jan. 2: 3-1 win over Toronto; 1 goal allowed
  • Jan. 3: 7-1 loss to Dallas; 4 goals allowed
  • Jan. 6: 4-3 loss to San Jose; 4 goals allowed

On the new Wild Xtra site, one of the main topics being opined on fans is if Kuemper is the worst goalie in the NHL.

Poor goaltending has the Wild six points out of the playoff race. But what can they do to improve the position? Russo has some ideas:

"Pressure’s on GM Chuck Fletcher here. Josh Harding’s not coming back. That’s obvious. Backstrom is likely unmovable. Kuemper can’t be sent to the minors without waivers, and he’d be claimed for sure.

"So either you continue to ride this instability out and have it maybe cost you this season or you trade for a goalie and probably have to keep three on the active roster. And, how much of an asset can you really give up for said goalie when there’s no assurance a goalie saves your season? Even Yeo admitted in a different context after the game, “There’s a lot of points that we’re leaving out there right now, so that’s disappointing.'"

Sportsnet's Elliot Friedman reported earlier this week that Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has denied interested in trading for Buffalo Sabres goalie Jhonas Enroth. Friedman said it's a move that "makes a lot of sense" for Minnesota, pending what they would have to give up.

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