This story came out this past weekend, I think it’s a subject that’s worth some discussion. Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding was on fire on December 31, 2013, and then he was finished for the season due to symptoms from his Multiple Sclerosis.
NHL.com -- Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding is expected to be healthy and ready to play in time for training camp, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday.Harding had All-Star numbers when he was playing. I also think if the Wild had Harding or Darcy Kuemper against the Blackhawks, the Wild might have advanced to the third round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Harding left the Wild on Dec. 31 to deal with symptoms related to his multiple sclerosis. Before his illness forced him from the lineup, Harding was enjoying a breakout season, going 18-7-3 with a 1.65 goals-against average and .933 save percentage. After missing several weeks, Harding skated with the Wild during the Stanley Cup Playoffs but never made it back into the lineup before Minnesota was eliminated in the Western Conference Second Round.
"I think his battles are well chronicled and well known. I think he's feeling well at this point in time," Fletcher said. "The goal for him is, much like last summer, to build up and get to a point where he'll be able to come into training camp and play well. There's been nothing that I've heard of to lead me to not believe that to be the case."
The biggest question surrounding the Wild is what they’re going to do with the goaltending position. During the regular season, the Wild used five goalies. Four goalies played 12 or more games. Harding and Kuemper were the most consistent. Both goalies played over 25 games, and had save percentages of .915 or better with a winning percentage of at least (.580).
One goalie I would like to see the Wild part ways with is the overpaid Niklas Backstrom, the guy was wildly inconsistent last year and has been hurt on and off the last few seasons. The Wild are on the hook for $3,416,667 a year for the two seasons. That’s too much money for a goalie that posted a (5-11-2 record, a 3.02 GAA and a .899 save percentage).