Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo are back in Minnesota are back in town doing some prep work for the upcoming season, including checking up on their injured goaltenders, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding. Fletcher said both should be ready for the start of the training camp, which begins in less than five weeks.
“Everybody seems to be feeling pretty good, and at this stage, knock on wood, all of our players who were banged up at the end of the season are feeling better," Fletcher told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. "Josh has felt good. Right now we’re not expecting any issues for anybody with respect to passing training camp medicals."
The Wild had a tough time keeping goaltenders healthy last season. Backstrom, who was supposed to be the team's starter, played in just 21 games last season. Harding played in just 29, but earned an 18-7-3 record before missing the rest of the season due to complications with multiple sclerosis.
After losing both of their top goaltenders, the Wild were left to rely on 24-year-old Darcy Kuemper and veteran Ilya Bryzgalov to guide the team to the second round of the playoffs.
The Wild are expected to bring back Kuemper, but Bryzgalov remains a free agent. Fletcher also told Russo that he is comfortable with the three goaltenders he has.
"When guys have been healthy, they’ve performed well," Fletcher said. "Darcy [Kuemper] also showed some glimpses of what we hope he’ll become, so we’re comfortable with those three goaltenders."
We have not heard much from Harding since he went out last season. However, he has participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Fletcher also told Russo that there haven't been any conversations over recent weeks with free agents Kuemper and Nino Niederreiter. He expects the talks to move along as training camp approaches.