Jesper Wallstedt’s Minnesota Wild Debut Drawing Near?

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Lily Smith/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Minnesota Wild drafted Jesper Wallstedt with their 1st round pick (No. 20 overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft, something that’s only happened 68 times in league history. Since, the hype surrounding Wallstedt has gradually built up steam.

Jesper Wallstedt: Minnesota Wild Goalie of the Future

At 19 years old (July 2022), Wallstedt was named the No. 1 overall goalie prospect in the world by The Athletic and his takeover as the Minnesota Wild’s starting netminder is only a matter of time, no matter how well Filip Gustavsson played this season or next.

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But now, the Gus Bus is hurt and won’t be returning anytime soon. Obviously, Bill Guerin and his new head coach, John Hynes, do not expect or want Marc-Andre Fleury in net for all of the Wild’s games in his absence. So, questions have risen surrounding whether or not we could see Wallstedt in St. Paul earlier than expected.

Wallstedt’s NHL Debut Drawing Near

And it sounds like the answer to that question is yes. In fact, it seems like Jesper’s recent injury issues are the only thing keeping him in the AHL, as of Saturday morning. Wallstedt returned from his injury last night and did not play particularly well. Still, it doesn’t seem like Minnesota decision makers are overly concerned.

Michael Russo (The Athletic) tweeted on Saturday that it “Sure feels like Wallstedt’s NHL debut is closing in”.

Even after a difficult return to action last night, Jesper Wallstedt’s numbers tell the story about how good the kid is and why the Minnesota Wild organization is so excited about him. In 19 appearances this season, the 21-year-old goalie is touting a .918 save percentage and 2.52 goals against average, both good for 3rd best in the AHL among goalies who have started 18 or more games.

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Both are improvements over his already impressive AHL start in 2022-23, where he allowed 2.68 goals per game and touted a .908 save percentage, which both hover around top-10 in the league among AHL goalies with 35 or more games played last season.

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