Two goalies is not the problem for the Minnesota Wild. It’s who should be No. 1

Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen have been a solid one-two punch for the Minnesota Wild in net this season. But who should be the No. 1 goalie? (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen have been a solid one-two punch for the Minnesota Wild in net this season. But who should be the No. 1 goalie? (Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Wild have a goaltending problem. In life, everybody has problems. Everybody is going to have problems. There is no way around that. Sometimes, if we do not make the right decision, our problem gets bigger.

We all are going to have problems.

The secret is having more good problems than bad ones. If you live in Minnesota and your water heater breaks in December, having to buy a new one is a good problem.

How is that a good problem?!

If you have to purchase a new water heater, this means you most likely own your house and that is a good thing. You are fortunate enough to own and not rent.

Now go buy a new water heater.

The Minnesota Wild have a good problem on their hands. Having two capable goaltenders in Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen and having to choose between the two, is a problem.

A good problem.

The recent play of both Talbot and Kahkonen has created a new problem for the team, and has some fans asking, “Who should be our starting goalie moving forward?”.

Talbot at age 34, is an All-Star He outshined the other goalies who took the ice in Vegas on Feb. 5th. The All-Star game really does not do goalies any favors as teams play little to no defense and goalies are left as target practice.

Talbot shined on the big stage, making multiple saves against Auston Matthews and coming up with two amazing stops on Rasmus Dahlin and Dylan Larkin (watch the highlight and sit there in amazement). Had the Central Division’s team won the tournament, Talbot would have been deserving of game MVP honors.

cam talbot, minnesota wild
Minnesota Wild goalie Cam Talbot was an All-Star selection this season but he has struggled in net over the past 10 games. Is it a minor blip or a sign of things to come? (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

So what is going on with our goalie? In Talbot’s past 10 games he has allowed five or more goals four times (twice allowing 6, and twice allowing 5), while squeezing in two solid performances (including one shutout against Chicago).

He has gone 5-4-1, with a 3.37 GAA, and a .899 save percentage. Against Winnipeg earlier this week, he had a strong first period, looking sharp against some good scoring chances and high quality shots from the Winnipeg attack. After allowing a  goal to Mark Scheifele, he came undone. Talbot’s inconsistent play the past 10 games is a bad problem.

To quote the Deftones, “I’ve watched a change in you”.

In Kahkonen’s last 10 games he has allowed three or more goals five times, once allowing four. During that span, he has gone 7-1-1, with a 2.43 GAA, and a .931 save percentage. Other than Kahkonen’s numbers during this time, nothing about his play has jumped out as spectacular.

He has quietly made routine save after save, and has been a No. 1 goalie. He continuously wins games for the Wild. The team feels safe with him in the net. He continues to push Talbot. This is a good problem to have.

Kaapo Kahkonen, Minnesota Wild
Kaapo Kahkonen has a 7-1-1 record over his past nine starts for the Minnesota Wild. Should he be the team’s No. 1 goalie moving forward. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Wild as a team are averaging 3.78 goals scored per game.

Wild coach Dean Evason has a big decision to make. At what point in the season does he make the change and start giving Kahkonen more starts over Talbot?

Two seasons ago, the Wild had a decision to make; trade Zach Parise to the New York Islanders or keep him. They did not make the correct decision and now are strapped with cap hits for the next three seasons. Oh, and Parise ended up playing for the Islanders anyway. Wrong decision led to a bad problem.

As we enter the second half of the season and the push for the playoffs, the Wild will need to make a decision on their guy and roll with him.

With Talbot and Kahkonen, the good problem is we have two solid goalies.

The bad problem is we might be starting the wrong one.