It took everything the Minnesota Wild had to get past the Colorado Avalanche; including goaltender Darcy Kuemper. When the second round starts it will start with a big question. Who will be the starting goaltender?
The Wild will have the challenge of playing the Chicago Blackhawks in round two, and there is uncertainty surrounding Kuemper. He had a rough night, and was on the receiving ends of a hard hit behind the net. For the Wild they may be forced to play the man they traded for; Ilya Bryzgalov.
Bryzgalov has been less than good in his three appearances so far this off-season. He is carrying a GAA of 4.25, and what I believe to be a more telling number; his Save Percentage is .826. For any NHL goaltender those numbers are sub-par. But, if you are the player traded for to help navigate through the NHL Playoffs, those numbers are a flat-out joke.
The possible loss of Kuemper could fuel a debate for weeks to come. If his injury is “upper body” also code for a head injury, or concussion his season could be over. Leaving the Wild at what appears to be a big disadvantage. The difference between the two goaltender during the last series is night and day. Kuemper had a .913 SV% and allowed 11 goals on 127 shots faced. Four of 11 goals were given up last night.
*GIF, CBS Sports
Options are limited in Minnesota, and all they can do is hope that if Bryzgalov if called on he can regain some of the form he was traded for. But, that does seem unlikely. His Playoff numbers showed a sharp decline for years. It’s not a good place to be, can the Wild trust Bryz?
Playoff SV% for Bryzgalov
- 2005-2006 (.944)
- 2006-2007 (.922)
- 2009-2010 (.906)
- 2010-2011 (.879)
- 2011-2012 (.887)
- 2013-2014 (.826)
There seems to be more questions than answers in Minnesota, and nothing will be cleared up until we know the extent of Kuemper’s injury. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to battle the Blackhawks without a strong goaltender.