Update: The Minnesota Wild announced that Josh Harding suffered a fractured right foot from an “off-ice incident” and is out indefinitely. There aren’t many bright sides here, but at least he won’t need surgery.
If Tuesday’s news regarding Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding being on crutches didn’t set off alarms, this update should: TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that Harding is likely to miss months rather than weeks with his ankle injury.
It’s yet another bit of bad luck for Harding, 30, who’s just coming off what seemed like a true breakthrough season that was derailed by his ongoing, unfortunate struggles with multiple sclerosis.
This is especially tough news for the Wild, too.
Even before this update surfaced, Wild head coach Mike Yeo repeatedly noted his frustration with a) Harding’s health and b) the stalled negotiations with Darcy Kuemper.
Hearing that Harding will likely miss a chunk of the regular season may give Kuemper’s camp more leverage, but Ilya Bryzgalov is also waiting in the wings to possibly kick up the contract negotiation drama another notch.
As entertaining as this situation may be for neutral onlookers, the Wild’s anxiety has to be ratcheting up a bit at this point.
This is a franchise that only added more star power this offseason by signing Thomas Vanek and may inspire some bold ambitions considering how much they pushed the Chicago Blackhawks in a second-round series (and how promising young players like Mikael Granlund and Jonas Brodin seem).
Of course, at the moment, their goaltending situation is cratering. Niklas Backstrom’s had a rough go of things lately, and with Harding on the shelf, something has to give with Kuemper and/or Bryzgalov.
Plenty is at stake for a team paying big bucks to rise up in the West, but it remains to be seen if goaltending (and injuries to their goalies) once again hinders Minnesota.