The Minnesota Wild have placed goaltender Alex Stalock on waivers, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. The 33-year-old veteran led the Wild in wins and starts last season, but has yet to make an NHL appearance this year.
Stalock, who took over as the Wild’s starter last year after a disappointing season by long-time starter Devan Dubnyk, has been out since the beginning of the season due to an upper-body injury. Stalock was coming off a season in which he posted 20 wins, a 2.67 GAA and a .910 save percentage last year in 38 games. He also played in all four postseason games in the bubble last year, but didn’t fare as well, going 1-3 with a 3.03 GAA and a .897 save percentage.
The Wild then changed up their goaltending during the offseason, trading Dubnyk to San Jose and signing Cam Talbot as a free agent. The team also had last year’s AHL Goaltender of the Year Kaapo Kahkonen, leaving Stalock’s status on the team shaky already. Both Talbot and Kahkonen have played extremely well with Minnesota this year. Talbot has a 2.19 GAA and a .926 save percentage in seven appearances, while Kahkonen has 2.41 GAA and a .914 save percentage in 12 games.
That leaves Stalock, who is finally healthy and ready to come off injured reserve, as the odd man out and a serious candidate to be claimed by other teams in need of a veteran goaltender. On top of all that, Stalock is quite inexpensive as he is earning just $725K this year, just his second year in a three-year, $2.36MM deal he signed back in 2019.
With several teams in need of goaltending help, it would seem improbable that the Wild can slip him through to assign him to the taxi squad. One interesting fact is the team could have assigned him to the AHL for a conditioning stint first, but opted not to do that, perhaps hoping that Stalock, who hasn’t appeared in a game since the playoff bubble in August, might not be ready to jump into a game for any time right away, thereby dissuading teams to claim him.
However, there are plenty of teams in desperate need of help in goal (especially veteran help), with many people pointing to the Buffalo Sabres, who just lost Linus Ullmark for a month due to injury, who would be strong candidates to take a chance on him.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo was the first to report that Stalock was going to be put on waivers.