The Minnesota Wild have recalled high-end goaltending prospect Jesper Wallstedt, and reassigned Zane McIntyre to their AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, per a team release. With netminder Filip Gustavsson currently on the injured reserve and upcoming back-to-back games next weekend, it would be reasonable to assume that Wallstedt will end up making his NHL debut for the Wild.
Coming to Minnesota as the 20th overall selection of the 2021 NHL Draft, the native of Västerås, Sweden has shattered all expectations through his brief time in North America. Even during his last year in the SHL during the 2021-22 season, Wallstedt impressed greatly with a .918 SV% and 1.98 GAA in 22 games as a 19-year-old.
Making his way to Iowa last year, the excitement began growing around Wallstedt, as he produced an 18-15-5 record in his rookie campaign, carrying a .908 SV% and a 2.68 GAA. He has continued his upward momentum in this AHL season as well, currently holding an 11-9-0 record with a .917 SV% and 2.54 GAA. He currently ranks sixth in save percentage through all goalies in the AHL with a minimum of 15 games played.
Unfortunately for Wallstedt, this will likely only serve as a brief stay in the NHL, with Gustavsson only expected to miss a few weeks, and Marc-Andre Fleury currently serving as the team’s primary starter. However, with 11 games in 20 days upcoming for the Wild, Wallstedt will have plenty of opportunity to prove his worth at the NHL level.
With Gustavsson signed until the 2025-26 season, and Fleury’s status beyond this year up in the air, Wallstedt will more than likely be the primary backup option for the Wild as soon as next season. If he continues to play how he has in both the SHL and the AHL, Minnesota could become one of the few teams across the league to have their long-term solution in the crease.
For McIntyre, he was originally brought up via an emergency loan on December 31st in correspondence with Gustavsson’s injury. In the three games that he has been available for, Fleury has started in all of them, with McIntyre failing to get any minutes throughout his time up in the NHL. He will now return to Iowa where he has a .884 SV% through 12 games this season.
Michael Russo of The Athletic was the first to report the Wild would be recalling Wallstedt.