According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, 2009 3rd round pick Matt Hackett will make his NHL season debut tonight against the Dallas Stars. This is Hackett’s second call-up to the big leagues this season, but is the first time he’ll see actual game action as the Minnesota Wild rest starter Niklas Backstrom for tomorrow night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Hackett was impressive in his NHL debut last season, posting a 3-6 record in 12 games with a 2.37 goals against average and .922 save percentage. However, he’s struggled this season and is just coming off an overtime loss that saw him allow seven goals to the Stars’ minor league affiliate, making his selection as tonight’s starter over Darcy Kuemper a questionable decision to many Wild fans. Dallas has not played since Monday night’s 7-4 loss to the Wild, and is likely more than ready to avenge itself with another home ice opportunity. Hackett will have to be sharp to shutdown the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn. So far this season, Hackett has posted a 19-20-3 record in the AHL, with a 2.66 goals against average and .907 save percentage.
In response to the big club’s roster move, the Houston Aeros have signed ECHL goaltender Brian Stewart from Bakersfield to a professional tryout. He’ll almost assuredly be reassigned back to the Condors tomorrow after Minnesota sends down either Hackett or Kuemper. Stewart will be the eighth goaltender to dress for the Aeros this season.