Johan Gustafsson Reassigned To Alaska Aces


With Darcy Kuemper in Iowa for up to two weeks on a conditioning stint, the Iowa Wild have reassigned goaltender Johan Gustafsson to the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.

Gustafsson has struggled this season with an .896 Sv%. John Curry has been the clear go-to guy for Iowa with a .919 Sv%. Much like Kuemper, a step down a level may help regain some lost confidence for Gustafsson.

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Kuemper can be in Iowa for up to two weeks and I’d expect that he will be there for the full two weeks. Gustafsson will likely remain in Alaska for the duration of Kuemper’s stay in Iowa.

Gustafsson’s struggles are just another layer in the many-tiered wedding cake of the Wild’s union with goaltending nightmares.

The net in Minnesota has been a two-year post apocalyptic hellscape.

At one point last season, Gustafsson was thought of as the potential number three. Now he’s fifth, sixth when Harding is healthy. But that’s really just to highlight that expectations have changed. The hope is no longer that he could answer the call if the Wild -gasp- had to turn to a third goaltender (ahhh, the good ol’ days). The hope is that he’s developing. That he’s actively working toward being a player that the team could trust with a game or two if needed.

So that’s how he should be judged, not on wins and save percentage in a vacuum, but on development. The move to Alaska could help from that perspective. And as I’ve said here before there are signs of improvement. He’s been outstanding for Iowa some nights. Of course the problem is that he’s not average on the other nights, but far below average.

One admittedly cherry-picked stat that gives a little hope, is looking at his save percentage after removing the back end of back-to-backs. That’s a situation he hasn’t handled well historically, but is thrust into frequently because of the organization’s goaltending mess and the nature of the AHL schedule. He ticks up from a .896 Sv% to a .904 Sv%. That’s a slight move up from last year’s numbers.

It seems like Iowa might have noticed as well. Gustafsson hasn’t played a back-to-back since January 9 and 10 when he allowed one goal for a .972 Sv% on the front end and then a .860 Sv% after allowing six goals the following night.

Alaska is back in action Friday and Saturday night for a back-to-back against the Colorado Eagles at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. Gustafsson is expected to be available to start in Friday’s game.