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2017-18 season preview: Goaltenders

Wild hopeful Stalock can provide quality minutes behind Dubnyk

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

This story is part of's 2017-18 season preview.

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk is coming off arguably the best season of his NHL career. It's easy to forget, considering how things went over the final month of the regular season and Minnesota's early exit from the postseason.

Dubnyk returns after putting himself in the mix for the Vezina Trophy (NHL's best goaltender) until the month of March, when he simply ran out of steam. With Darcy Kuemper struggling for most of the season and Boudreau unable to trust his backup enough to give Dubnyk a breather, the belief is that Dubnyk simply wore down by season's end.

Since being acquired in 2015, Dubnyk has played a ton of games, making 63 starts last season, 66 the year before and 39 over the final couple of months after his trade from Arizona.

Despite a down March, Dubnyk still won 40 games for the first time in his career and posted a 2.25 goals-against average and .923 save percentage that ranked him among the NHL's best. Both figures were the best of his career over the course of a full season.

But in an effort to help bring Dubnyk's minutes down a little bit, the Wild retained South St. Paul native Alex Stalock. 

The former University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldog re-established himself in Iowa last season, playing in 50 games, before appearing in two for the Wild late in the season.

With his game now in order, the hope is that Stalock can provide the stability behind Dubnyk the Wild needed a year ago so that it has a fresh No. 1 -- or better yet, a pair of reliable No. 1s -- at the end of the season.

"We need him to be solid every time they go in," Boudreau said of Stalock. "There's probably 20 games that the No. 2 guy is gonna play. And if he's not solid, then that's a big swing in points."

The Wild also signed Niklas Svedberg as insurance behind Dubnyk and Stalock. Svedberg spent the past couple of seasons in the KHL but before that, flashed solid upside as a member of the Boston Bruins organization.

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