Due to personal reasons, Niklas Backstrom, who was the scheduled starter tonight, will not be at the game tonight. That means Josh Harding will be the starter, but here’s where it gets interesting.
Houston Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett has been recalled and is on a flight to the Twin Cities right now. He’s not expected to touch down on the biggest travel day of the year until about 6:30. That means the likelihood that he’s here for warmups is very small and he may even miss part of the first period.
The Wild has reacted by signing Paul Deutsch, who runs a screen printing and embroidery store in Richfield, as the emergency goaltender. As per League rules, the Wild was forbidden from signing a goalie with professional experience, so Deutsch signed his ATO today.
Deutsch is no stranger to the Wild, however. As a good friend of former assistant Mike Ramsey, Deutsch has been used in many Wild practices when one of the top goalies gets an off day.
You can see a Wild TV feature on Deutsch from three years ago right here.
While he can hold his own in practices, Deutsch was not even a goaltender growing up. According to Ramsey, he started playing in his thirties. The guy is 51 years old and will wear number 33. You’re going to be hearing a lot about him over the next few days most likely.
Coincidentally, Deutsch was already going to be at the game tonight as a fan, along with a youth hockey team he was accompanying. Now, those players are going to likely see him take warmups with the Minnesota Wild tonight.