The Minnesota Wild have had a strange season, to say the least. A very slow start led to a coaching change that prompted a tremendous win-streak, only to encounter a massive number of injuries to key players that now threaten their playoff hopes once again. One of the Wild’s biggest losses has been that of their number one goalie, Filip Gustavsson who went down in the second period of their Dec. 30 game against the Winnipeg Jets. While Marc-Andre Fleury will still be leading the way in net, it looks like it is finally time for Wild fans to get a look at prized prospect, Jesper Wallstedt.
Zane MacIntyre was called up as a temporary backup until Jesper Wallstedt, who was also injured, could get a couple of games in with the Iowa Wild before being called up to the NHL for the first time. Wallstedt, in his second year with the Iowa Wild, is proving to be as good as advertised, much to the chagrin of the other 31 teams in the NHL.
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The 21-year-old Swedish netminder was drafted 20th overall by the Wild in 2021 and has quickly turned into one of the top goaltending prospects in the entire world. Garnering constant praise for his mindset, positioning, and skating abilities, he has produced 11 wins with a 2.54 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage so far this season in 20 games.
Wallstedt Should Make NHL Debut Soon
With his excellent play, Wallstedt has been an option for the Wild for a little while now, but with Gustavsson and Fleury both playing great hockey, there has been no reason to pull the young star from the American Hockey League (AHL). Instead, they have been patient and allowed him to continue growing into a potential franchise-altering piece. The wait is over as Wallstedt is currently slated to be the backup for Fleury in their Jan. 8 home game against the Dallas Stars, and get his NHL debut on Jan. 10 in the second half of the home-and-home against the Stars.