After negotiating the NHL's most fluid goaltending situation last season, the Wild appear to be going with the same cast in 2014-15. General manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday he expects Niklas Backstrom, Darcy Kuemper and Josh Harding to be healthy and ready to compete for playing time when training camp begins in September. All were at one time the No. 1 goaltender last season, and none finished the season there. Harding didn't play after Dec. 31 because of syptoms related to multiple sclerosis, with which he was diagnosed in Fall 2012. Backstrom started the season with an abdominal injury that finally ended his season in a March surgery. Kuemper, a revelation as a rookie, suffered two concussions, the second in the first round of the playoffs. He finished the season backing up Ilya Bryzgalov, who won't be back. "When we have three (goalies), we can carry three," Fletcher said. "Things always work themselves out. The good thing is the caliber of goaltending we have is certainly sufficient, so it's just a question of health, and it's hard to predict that and control that." The availability of Harding, 29, seems unlikely, but Fletcher said the goalie hoping the right combination of medications will allow him to play. In his 28 games, he led the league in goals-against average (1.65) and save percentage (.933). "Josh's battles have been well-chronicled, and I think he's feeling well at this point in time," Fletcher said. "The goal for him is, much like last summer, is to build up and be able to come to training camp and play well. There's been nothing I've heard to make me believe that's not the case."
Wild GM Fletcher expects Josh Harding back for training camp
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Jun 7