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Reports: Harding hurting before the Wild open training camp


It appears the bad luck has struck Minnesota Wild goalies again. The Wild are already dealing with injuries to one of their goaltenders and training camp hasn't even opened yet.

Multiple media reports indicate Josh Harding has been sidelined by an ankle injury and will miss the start of training camp.

According to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo, the team was surprised when Harding limped into the trainer's room on Monday. Russo reports sources say Harding's injury didn't occur on the ice.

Harding had a terrific start to last season, but he missed the entire second half due to complications from his multiple sclerosis.

According to Russo, the team doesn't know how long the ankle injury will keep Harding out, but he will not be on the ice when the team opens camp on Friday.

The only other goaltender under contract with the Wild is veteran Niklas Backstrom, as Darcy Kuemper remains an unsigned restricted free agent.

The contract standoff between the Wild and Kuemper has carried on throughout the offseason. He is the lone remaining unsigned restricted free agent for the Wild, and the two sides seem to have made minimal progress in contract talks.

Last week his agent said Kuemper was considering opportunities in the Kontinental Hockey League.

Pro Hockey Talk reports that Harding's latest setback could play in Kuemper's favor. Last year with injuries to both Harding and Bakstrom, Kuemper's play down the stretch was key to the Wild's playoff run.

He was the goalie of record in 14 of 20 games during February and March and played a big role in the Wild's postseason birth.

According to Gone Puck Wild, the biggest holdup in negotiations appears to be that Kuemper wants a one-way deal and the Wild want to sign him to a two-way contract.

If the Wild are not able to work out a deal with Kuemper and Harding is out for awhile, several other veterans are still available as free agents – including Ilya Bryzgalov.

Bryzgalov, who was traded to the Wild at the trade deadline last season, has expressed interest in returning to Minnesota.

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