The National Hockey League informed teams last week that they would be expanding the size of each team's respective roster, specifically for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, to 28 skaters and an unlimited number of goaltenders. This means that many teams will likely have some fresh young faces on their training camp rosters when those camps resume later this year, and one team that may benefit the most from this is the Minnesota Wild.
You see the Wild may have something of a secret weapon, although admittedly it is a poorly kept secret, in the form of rookie goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen. Although most NHL fans probably haven't heard Kahkonen's name very often there's no question that he has been a subject of interest for fans of the Minnesota Wild. Kahkonen is coming of a season in which he was named the American Hockey League's goalie of the year and there are many who believes that he could supplant Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock as the starter for the Wild.
Recently Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo had a chance to catch up to the man currently behind the bench of the Minnesota Wild and asked him about the possibility. Of course the coach kept his cards close to his vest, but he certainly did not deny the possibility that it could happen.
"I think whoever’s here in our training camp is in the mix," admitted interim head coach Dean Evason as per The Athletic. "There could be somebody that is absolutely outstanding through our scrimmages or what have you if we get to that point, and then we’ll be like, ‘Geez, maybe we better put him in.’ As far as our goaltending, we’ve talked to (Stalock and Dubnyk), you hear a lot about, ‘He’s my guy, or this is my guy.’ The guy that’s in the net is the guy on that night. It’s no different than our centericemen. That’s our guy. When the puck drops, that’s our guy. So if it’s Al, if it’s Duby, if it’s Kahkonen, it doesn’t matter to us. It doesn’t matter to the team. Whoever is in there that we deem is going to play well for us in whatever position, I’m sure everybody will support him and we will go forward"
I believe that Kahkonen, at a bare minimum, will get a chance to steal that job in training camp. We could very well see a rookie goaltender leading the charge for the Wild come playoff time.