29-Year-Old Goalie – Minnesota Wild
Alex Stalock Contract Information:
Signed a two-year contract extension with the Wild in February of 2017.
Stalock was summoned from AHL Iowa on Saturday, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Alex Stalock.
Despite coming off a season in which he posted a meager .902 save percentage, Stalock may enter training camp as a narrow favorite to fill the vacuum left by Antti Niemi. His competition: Jonathan Quick's former backup, Martin Jones, who turned in a similarly (but not quite as) disappointing effort last year. The thing is, Stalock's spectacular 2013-14 may have been an outlier -- he's never put up numbers like that in the AHL, so it's not surprising to see his stats fall back. Jones, on the other hand, has generally been a consistent performer at all levels of hockey, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him marginalize Stalock to a backup role once again. Stalock's contract also runs out this year; if he doesn't win the starting job, he could also see his tenure with the Sharks -- the only franchise he's ever known -- come to an end.
Whoa -- you came a long way, baby. Stalock started last season backing up a Vezina finalist who logged the most minutes in the NHL. But by the end of the season, Stalock had played well enough to create a goalie controversy, which we fully expect to cross over into this season. Niemi will likely win the top job, but it is clear that Stalock is the future of the organization. And he could ascend to that throne fast if he replicates his impressive numbers from last year (.932 save percentage and a 1.87 GAA). Handcuff him to Niemi. Or better yet, snag him away from the guy who just drafted Niemi. At worst, you'll have trade bait. At best, you'll own the starter on one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference. The danger? Drafting him as though he's already won the job. He's exciting, but he's still second in line.
Stalock looks like the likely No. 2 goaltender in San Jose for 2013-14. But don't count on a lot of playing time for the young twinetender who just a few short seasons ago suffered a near career-ending injury to his leg. Starter Antti Niemi played 43 of 48 games in last year's shortened season, led the league in ice time among goalies and played 68 games the year before that. Niemi is a workhorse and management in San Jose obviously believes he can carry the mail. Stalock is moving up the food chain with the departure of former back-up Thomas Greiss, but he only has three NHL games under his belt. His ice time will be limited, but we hope the Sharks' brass recognize the need to build Stalock's confidence -- and save some of Niemi's energies for the postseason -- by giving the youngster 15 to 20 starts. But barring an injury to Niemi, Stalock has very little fantasy value, if any.
Stalock is a walking miracle ... with walking the key word. He miraculously recovered from a nasty skate cut that severed the peroneal nerve in the area below his knee. Nerves do not regenerate easily and there was a chance that he might have to spend the rest of his life wearing a rigid brace on his leg just so he could walk. It took over a year -- and a lot of painful work -- for him to recover, but he did, and was back on the ice late last season. Stalock showed enough for the Sharks to re-sign him to a one-year deal. He'll likely start as the back-up in the AHL and, if he proves he's 100 percent, an NHL job is in his future. Impressive young man. Impressive recovery.
Stalock is arguably the top goalie prospect in the Sharks’ organization, but his health will be worth monitoring ahead of the upcoming season. Last February, he sustained a serious leg laceration in an AHL game that ultimately required surgery. In 2010-11, Stalock made 41 appearances with AHL Worcester and crafted a 2.63 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. These figures were nearly identical to what he had the previous season, proving that he can be consistent at the professional level. Stalock also won his NHL debut on Feb. 1, having stopped all nine shots he faced in relief of Antti Niemi. He's now prohibited from on-ice activity until February 14, 2012, one year from his surgery and it's not known if he'll be able to recover enough to play hockey again. The Sharks inked him to a one-year deal through 2011-12; that deal now looks like a good faith gesture. God speed, Alex.
Stalock shined in his first AHL tour with the Worcester Sharks in 2009-10, sporting a 36-15-2 record, a 2.59 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. A WCHA title (and MVP honors) with the University of Minnesota-Duluth also stands out on his resume. Stalock is a proven winner, one that is sure to help out the Sharks in the coming years.
Stalock jumps up the goalie pecking order thanks to Thomas Greiss’ promotion to the NHL. But instead of stopping pucks for Worcester, Stalock has been developing his game in the WCHA. With starting Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov in the final year of his NHL contract, Team Teal could spend the next few years taking a good hard look at their rising goalie prospects, Stalock included.