Wednesday’s NHL: Alex Stalock injured, so Wild sign goalie Andrew Hammond

Sarah Mclellan
Star Tribune

The Wild is still waiting for next season to start, but its manpower continues to take a hit.

Backup goalie Alex Stalock is out indefinitely because of an upper-body injury, the team announced. Forward Mats Zuccarello is also sidelined after undergoing surgery on his right arm.

With Stalock unavailable, and to boost the team’s depth, the team signed veteran Andrew Hammond to a one-year, two-way contract ($700,000 if he’s in the NHL and $200,000 if he’s in the minors).

The Minnesota Wild signed goalie Andrew Hammond after learning Alex Stalock will be out indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Hammond is familiar to the organization, having suited up for Iowa in the American Hockey League in 2018-19 when he went 19-12-2 with a .908 save percentage and 2.81 goals-against average.

In 56 career NHL games with Ottawa and Colorado, the 32-year-old is 27-15-6 with a .923 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average. The former Bowling Green University start spent last season with Rochester in the AHL, going 16-12-3 with a .908 save percentage and 2.53 goals-against average.

Andrew Hammond career statistics

Stalock’s injury comes on the heels of his best season in the NHL.

Not only did he set career numbers in games, wins and shutouts, but Stalock became the team’s go-to goalie as the season progressed and started all four of the Wild’s playoff games.

Overall, Stalock went 20-11-4 with a .910 save percentage, 2.67 goals-against average and four shutouts.

Even before his injury, the Wild was going to have a different look in net next season.

After the team traded longtime starter Devan Dubnyk to San Jose, the Wild signed free agent Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11 million contract to become its new No. 1. The team also re-signed prospect Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year, two-way contract.

Initially, it looked like Kahkonen would be destined for another season in the minors despite an impressive rookie debut last season in the NHL that included a 3-1-1 stint. But with Stalock out, Kahkonen would figure to slot behind Talbot.

Still, Hammond could get face time with the Wild if the team decides to carry three goalies. And that’s a real possibility.

Although plans for next season have yet to be finalized, a shorter-than-usual schedule is expected and that could entice teams to have more options in net handy since the turnaround between games might be tight.

Bowman promoted

The Chicago Blackhawks shuffled their front office, elevating general manager Stan Bowman to president of hockey operations and hiring Jaime Faulkner as president of business operations.

Danny Wirtz — chairman Rocky Wirtz’s son — becomes chief operating officer after serving as interim president following the firing of John McDonough in April. The Blackhawks are splitting McDonough’s job in two.

“We have taken the steps and made those changes to put the pieces into place that will bring a new mindset and culture to the Chicago Blackhawks, that will lead us into the future,” Rocky Wirtz said in a statement.

Faulkner helped found E15, a consulting strategy and analytics company, in 2013. She worked with 200 clients including Fortune 500 companies, pro sports teams, resorts and entertainment entities to develop systems predicting fan behavior. Her husband, Colin, is the Chicago Cubs’ executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Bowman, in his 19th season in the organization, remains in the GM role he has held since July 2009. The Blackhawks won Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013 and 2015. They have advanced past the first round only once since their most recent championship.