Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Wild signs goalie John Curry as an insurance policy

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild player moves Updated: February 17, 2014 - 12:52 PM

The Wild has torn up goalie John Curry’s two-way American Hockey League contract with the Iowa Wild and signed the former Breck School product to a two-way NHL contract.

This will allow the Wild to be able to call up Curry in case he’s needed after the Olympic break. By rule, he is officially on waivers today in order to be reassigned back to Iowa.

Because of the Wild’s chaotic goalie situation this season due to health issues with Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom, Johan Gustafsson, who’s in his first year as a North American pro, has been on the Wild’s active roster six separate occasions and has backed up nine games.

He has yet to make his NHL debut, so signing Curry is a way the Wild can avoid the yo-yo for a developing young goalie and bring up Curry if it needs to after the Olympic break.

“To have Gus just up here backing up, it’s just not right for his development and leaves Iowa really shorthanded, too,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “John’s a little older and has a little more experience, so it’s just another option for us. It’s not a reflection on Gus at all. There have been times we’ve had [Darcy] Kuemper and Gus up here and John’s been the only goalie down there, so this is recognizing the reality of our situation and protecting us with another NHL contract.”

Basically, Curry’s an insurance policy beyond Kuemper, who started 12 consecutive games before the break, and Backstrom, who was suffering from abdominal soreness before the break. Since Jan. 7, Backstrom missed two games and had to back up rather than start Jan. 7 in L.A. because of the issue.

Fletcher said the Wild will know more Wednesday once every non-Olympic player reports for practice, but he anticipates that Backstrom is “fine.”

As for Harding, who has started two games since Dec. 17 and none since Dec. 31, Fletcher said there’s no real change to his status and he will not be practicing this week.

“Once we get into practicing here, hopefully we can provide a better update,” Fletcher said. “There’s no real change with Josh.”

Fletcher knows Curry well. When he was assistant GM in Pittsburgh, Fletcher signed Curry out of Boston University.

“He has lots of experience. He’s earned it. He’s just played very well down there, so he deserves an NHL deal and there’s no downside to signing him and having him available to you,” Fletcher said.

Curry, who turns 30 Feb. 27, has shuttled all year back and forth between Iowa and ECHL Orlando. He is 6-3-2 with Iowa in 12 games with a 1.95 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. In 2007 with BU, he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker and was named Hockey East Player of the Year.

In four NHL games for Pittsburgh over parts of two seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-10, Curry is 2-2 with a 3.67 goals-against average and .867 save percentage.

I'll be on KFAN in-studio with Paul Allen on Tuesday morning at 9.

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