The Minnesota Wild are in a goaltending bind and there don't appear to be many options to solve it.
The team's goaltending situation got a little messy right before the start of training camp. Josh Harding broke his ankle and was suspended from the team after he kicked a wall following an altercation with a teammate.
That combination hasn't worked like the Wild had hoped.
According to Pro Hockey Talk, after 37 games Kuemper and Backstrom have combined to give the Wild the NHL's second-worst team save percentage (.895), ahead of only Edmonton (.889).
Following their 7-1 loss at Dallas on Saturday night, the Wild sit at 18-15-4, well outside of the Western Conference playoff race.
While goaltending might not be the only reason the Wild are struggling, it certainly is a big part of it and there appears to be mounting pressure on general manager Chuck Fletcher to do something to fix it.
What are Fletcher's options?
There aren't many, but one option might be a trade.
There were rumors that the Wild were interested in acquiring Buffalo's Jhonas Enroth, but according to the blog Nichols on Hockey, Fletcher has denied that he as any interest in acquiring him.
Other options could include Toronto's James Reimer or one of Anaheim's two long-term starting candidates, Frederik Anderson or John Gibson.
CBS Sports notes that another option for Fletcher would be to wait and hope Kuemper improves.
"Before this season he played at a league-average level in his previous two NHL stints (in an admittedly small sample size) and was a .926 goalie in 44 starts (again, not a huge performance sample) in the American Hockey League. That is encouraging. There is talent there, and goalies are inconsistent monsters that will look bad for stretches of 15-20 games and unbeatable for 15-20 games. Is this just one of those bad stretches that is soon to be followed by a hot streak? Or is his early performance this year a real cause for concern? It might be worth waiting to find out."
And even if the Wild went out and added another goalie, it would likely mean they'd have to carry three of them, because both Backstrom and Kuemper would have to clear waivers to be sent to the AHL.