Minnesota Wild: 2018-19 Season Preview of Alex Stalock

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 16: Alex Stalock #32 of the Minnesota Wild wears a mask with an image of his son Simon Stalock on the back during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wild won 4-2. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 16: Alex Stalock #32 of the Minnesota Wild wears a mask with an image of his son Simon Stalock on the back during a game against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on March 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wild won 4-2. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Alex Stalock has some competition for his backup job on the Minnesota Wild this season. With 32 days left until preseason begins, let’s have a look at the hometown goalie.

Last season, Alex Stalock was basically handed the Minnesota Wild backup goalie spot due to a lack of depth between the pipes. This season, his job isn’t guaranteed anymore and he will need to up his game to stay with the NHL club.


Stalock started his career quietly as a 4th round pick of the San Jose Sharks. The St.Paul, MN native pursued his education first as he spent 3 years with the University of Minnesota-Duluth before advancing his professional career.

Over his 3 years in the NCAA Stalock enjoyed increasing levels of personal success as his games played, wins, shutouts, GAA, and Sv% each increased year over year, finishing his final year at UMD with 42 games, 21 wins, 5 shutouts, 2.13 GAA, and a .924 Sv%

In the 2009-10 hockey season, Stalock finally joined the Sharks organization where he spent the entire season as the starting goalie for Worcester in the AHL. He led the AHL club to the playoffs in his first year, losing in the second round.

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The following season was again spent mostly in Worcester, but Stalock would get his first taste of the NHL. As an injury call-up, Stalock was thrust into game action in relief due to an injury to then Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. He performed well, finishing with 9 saves and no goals against in 30 minutes of relief play for San Jose.

That was not enough to stick with the team, however, as Stalock returned to Worcester where he himself was injured only days later. Stalock missed almost the entire following season rehabbing from a sliced nerve in his leg. The Sharks would resign him when his contract expired in 2013, and finally gave him an opportunity for a full time backup position the following season.

Stalock would perform admirably in his limited starts as backup to Antti Niemi, going 12-5-2 in 18 starts with a 1.87 GAA and .932 Sv%. Stalock actually set the Sharks franchise record that season for the longest consecutive streak by a goalie without allowing a goal at nearly 179 minutes (per NHL.com)

Despite all of this, Stalock reverted back to an average goaltender the following season and never managed to secure more game time in the following years. Eventually Niemi was replaced by Martin Jones, and Stalock was shipped out of town to Toronto.

Season Preview

Alex Stalock is not a young kid anymore, and despite moderate levels of success throughout his career he has never been able to secure anything better than a backup position in the NHL. As a 2005 NHL Draft pick, now reaching 30 years old, his window for success is closing quickly.

Last season, Stalock was thrust into action for the Minnesota Wild in December when Devan Dubnyk was forced to sit out due to injury. Stalock started strong, winning 3 consecutive games with a total GAA of 1.42, and looked like the backup that could carry the team through Dubnyk’s injury.

He quickly changed that opinion when he proceeded to lose 4 of the next 5 games, posting a GAA of 3.05 through those 5 games. He quickly showed why he is not a starting goaltender in the NHL, as his consistency faltered quickly and never returned.

The 3 game stretch in relief of Dubnyk last season, and the 3 game stretch in relief of Niemi in San Jose are proof that Stalock can be an exceptional goaltender for short bursts and there is no reason to believe that is not still the case.

When called upon to carry an extended run for his team, Stalock comes on hot but tires himself out quickly. Consistency is a necessity in the NHL, and unless Stalock can find a means to become more consistent in short order he is doomed to spend his entire career as nothing more than a mediocre backup.

His competition this year, Andrew Hammond, has suffered from the same consistency struggles and may not pose a large threat to Stalock’s current position on the Minnesota Wild depth chart this season.

Stalock has never been pushed directly for his position, he has always been chasing the top with no one directly behind him on the depth chart. Some direct competition and challenge for the veteran should be added motivation to prove he belongs and advance his game to hold his spot.

Next. 2018-19 Season Preview of J.T. Brown. dark

Stalock is entering the last season of his contract, and Andrew Hammond is only signed to a one year deal. With prospect Kaapo Kahkonen hot on their heels and looking to make the jump to the NHL soon, this could be a very important season for Stalock and Hammond to fight for their jobs as they could both be hitting free agency next summer. I expect an intense battle through training camp and preseason, and for Stalock to compete at an extremely high level whenever he is called on to give Dubnyk a night off.