Darcy Kuemper Assigned To Iowa Wild


The Minnesota Wild have a goaltending problem. No, not the problem where their even strength Sv% is the worst in the NHL, a different goaltending problem. Another goaltending problem. They have three goalies on one-way contracts (that doesn’t mean they can’t go to the AHL), one of which has a no move clause (that does mean he can’t go to the AHL) and the other two would have to go through waivers to get to the AHL.

Since the Wild traded for Devan Dubnyk this month, it’s been a problem with no clear solution in sight.

The team took a temporary step toward a little relief today when they reassigned Darcy Kuemper to the Iowa Wild on a conditioning stint. Kuemper came off the injured reserve in the final game before the break and played a period and a half in relief of Dubnyk, but he’s able to head down for conditioning for a bit. He can be in Iowa for a maximum of two weeks.

More from Wild News

It isn’t a permanent solution by any means, but it gives the Wild a short period of time where they don’t have to carry three goaltenders on the active roster. After that, well, they’ll probably have to carry three goaltenders on their active roster and scratch one every night.

Niklas Backstrom would be the obvious choice to move a goaltender if it was possible, but he can’t be waived with his no move clause and there isn’t likely to be any interest in a team trading to acquire him unless he’s a part of a package deal with a team who is selling to the Wild. In that instance the team the Wild are trading with would have to take him as a part of the package to provide a little roster and cap relief to the Wild. It’s an unlikely scenario.

Passing Kuemper through waivers to place him in Iowa on a longer term basis following his conditioning stint is risky. He’s had a rough season, but he’s a young promising goaltender and there are teams that may have a more favorable situation in net, who could afford to roster him and use him as a back-up. The Wild can’t afford to lose him since Backstrom has played worse than Kuemper, leaving Kuemper as the best option for a goaltender who is currently contracted past the end of this season.

After Kuemper, there’s no clear number two option in the system. John Curry is 30 and probably unlikely to get his first regular NHL gig. Johan Gustafsson continues to struggle in Iowa (though there are signs of improvement). After that… there’s Parker Milner in Quad City (ECHL), who isn’t actually on contract with the NHL club. Then there’s Kaapo Kahkonen, Alexandre Belanger, and Steve Michalek, all of whom are in other leagues.

The move provides some momentary relief. A clear number one and number two option. The week after? Back to the drawing board.

Iowa is currently on a three-game losing streak and will play three games in three nights starting on Thursday.