The Minnesota Wild's relationship with German goaltender Dennis Endras
started last year, when the club signed him shortly before the team's prospects came together for a July development camp. Endras had caught the eye of Wild scouts earlier that spring when he dazzled at the World Championships in Germany, going 4-2 and leading all tournament goaltenders with a 1.15 goals against average and a .961 save percentage and was named the tournament's best goaltenders.
Despite shining against teams that consisted of several NHL players, Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher made it clear that Endras would remain in Germany for another year.
That year is nearly over, and Endras will be trying his hand at North American competition next season after signing a two-way contract for 2011-12.
Endras actually served as the Wild's emergency goaltender when the regular season opened up in Helskini, Finland in October. When the Wild returned to Minnesota, Endras headed back to his Augsburger Panther team where he went 20-21-4 with a 3.15 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.
The 6-foot, 168-pound native of Immenstadt, Germany, led Augsburger to the finals of the German Hockey League in 2009-10, posting a 28-24 record with a 3.28 GAA and a .905 SV% in 52 regular season contests. Endras went 8-6 with a 2.36 GAA and a .937 SV% in 14 playoff matches. He was also named to Germany’s 2010 Olympic team but did not see game action. Endras was named the Rookie of the Year in 2009 after posting a 26-24 record with a 3.05 GAA, a .905 SV% and six shutouts in 50 games.
"Dennis is very athletic and competitive," said Wild Director of Scouting, Blair Mackasey, who saw Endras play at the 2010 IIHF World Championship. "We're excited to land him. Right now, he gives us depth at the goaltender position and in time, he should develop into a starting NHL goalie."
The signing of Endras is the second move in what could be an interesting year for Wild goaltenders. On February 28, the Wild dealt goaltender Anton Khudobin to Boston in exchange for Jeff Penner
and Mikko Lehtonen
Both Jose Theodore and Josh Harding
will be free agents at the end of the season. Currently, the Wild has Matt Hackett
as the number one goaltender with the Houston Aeros, and the club is expected to sign prospect Darcy Kuemper
of the Red Deer Rebels, who is a shoo-in to be named the Western Hockey League's top goaltender at season's end.