It’s hard not to like Minnesota Wild backup goaltender Alex Stalock, especially given he’s a St. Paul native living the dream of playing in the NHL for his home state’s team.
Despite this though, Alex Stalock’s form for the Minnesota Wild this season has been patchy to say the least. His 0.910 save percentage across 28 games last season is what is required, but right now, 14 games in, he’s rocking a rather feeble 0.894 save percentage. With someone like Kaapo Kahkonen wanting his job, he really needs to step it up.
His most recent outing against the Anaheim Ducks was possibly his poorest of the whole year. He faced eight shots, conceding three goals and being pulled just eight minutes in. As a result, Devan Dubnyk, who was meant to have the night off ended up spending the large majority of the losing affair between the pipes.
For every shocking result like the Anaheim game though, there’s a 33-save winning affair like that just two nights earlier against the Los Angeles Kings. It’s these sorts of wild swings in form that the Minnesota Wild need Alex Stalock to curb.
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More and more in the modern-day NHL, the backup goaltender should be able to be relied upon for upwards of twenty games per season. No longer is their role to merely step off the bench when the number one is having a bad night or if he goes down injured.
They’re expected in net for at least one night every back-to-back and at least a smattering of other games outside of that through the year.
Alex Stalock, so far this season, hasn’t quite climbed to the level he achieved last year or that of previous campaigns as backup with the San Jose Sharks.
Whether its age or that he isn’t confident in his defense in front of him, he needs to get to the bottom of it to provide that safety blanket for the Minnesota Wild on the nights that Devan Dubnyk needs a break.
Looking back at previous seasons, Devan Dubnyk has entered the play-offs in poor form possibly due to over-work. Alex Stalock was brought in with the expectation that he can share the workload somewhat.
He has managed that from time-to-time but of late, something has been majorly off. In his last six games, he’s conceded 3 or more goals. That’s always going to make it hard for the Minnesota Wild to win.
Whilst I’m not advocating trading Alex Stalock, heck I’m not even advocating a promotion for Andrew Hammond or Kaapo Kahkonen at this point, I am all for giving him some game-time again very soon to shake off the dreadful display against Anaheim.
The sooner he finds confidence in his performances, the better it is for the Minnesota Wild overall.