The Minnesota Wild recently agreed an extension for backup goaltender, Alex Stalock. The term of the deal may be surprising but it will likely prove a very wise decision.
Given that the Minnesota Wild have Kaapo Kahkonen waiting in the wings to be promoted to the NHL roster, you might question why they’re giving the Minnesota native, Alex Stalock a three-year deal. However, looking closer at the wider picture, it’s likely this is a move thinking ahead to the eventual Expansion Draft for the new Seattle team.
Alex Stalock, aside from being from St. Paul, has won favour with his aggressive goaltending style. His play-making and his passing ability that has often created break-outs, in particular, shines through on occasion.
This season in particular, it’s proven wise to have a steady backup goaltender on hand. Looking around the league, countless teams have struggled when their number one has become injured.
The Philadelphia Flyers have gone through seven starters this year before settling on a rookie, Carter Hart, in his first professional campaign. The Carolina Hurricanes rode a career veteran back-up in Curtis McElhinney for a while there. All around the league, there’s been waiver pickups any time a goaltender with so much as a little big league experience shows up.
Whilst this campaign has hardly been a shining light on Alex Stalock as a strong back-up, it’s shown him to be relatively reliable, albeit down on his numbers of years gone by.
The Minnesota Wild though, I don’t believe, extended him for three more seasons on the back of strong performances. His salary cap hit puts paid to the idea he’d earned a big pay cheque through big numbers.
Looking at the small cap hit and the fact that within the next three years we should expect Kaapo Kahkonen to have made his way into the Minnesota Wild line-up, this move is to shore up an option for the new Seattle team.
Kahkonen won’t likely be made available to them hence why it’s smart to have the option of a steady and stable backup goaltender available to the new team’s General Manager.
Likewise, the Minnesota Wild will either be have moved on from Devan Dubnyk by then or he too will potentially be available. Either way, this move on Alex Stalock shores up the future of the Minnesota Wild’s goaltending by removing the team’s future between the pipes from any sort of expansion equation.
Furthermore, it makes Andrew Hammond expendable should the team manage to float a trade deadline deal for a pick or bundle him in a package deal.
If nothing else, it gives their young netminder time to develop, it opens up some further options, trade and expansion wise, and undoubtedly provides ongoing stability in the crease.
Whilst it’s not a trade, a waiver pickup or a free agency signing, I’d argue that the re-signing of Alex Stalock for this term ranks up there as one of the smartest and wisest ones made since Paul Fenton took over as General Manager of the Minnesota Wild.