The Wild has discussed how it might deploy its goaltenders during an unusual season in which it'll face the same opponent in consecutive games and sometimes on back-to-back days.
But that hasn't changed coach Dean Evason's outlook on the position.
"If a guy's playing well and he's fresh, he's going to go," Evason said Wednesday during his post-practice video update.
That should be music to Cam Talbot's ears; the Wild's new starting goalie wants to be in the crease as much as possible.
"Even if it's a back-to-back situation, whether it be on the road or whatever, I'm comfortable playing in those situations," Talbot said. "I've done it before."
Still, the Wild will have options.
Kaapo Kahkonen has jumped up the depth chart with an injury to Alex Stalock, and the team must have at least one goaltender on its taxi squad if it's carrying only two on the active roster.
Before Stalock was sidelined, Kahkonen seemed headed for another season in the minors after an impressive NHL debut in 2019-20 in which he went 3-1-1. But the potential for more playing time in the NHL hasn't changed Kahkonen's approach. He was always going to report to training camp with the goal of showing the team he's ready.
"It's certainly a great opportunity," Kahkonen said.
The Wild last played a game in August, but the layoff has been much longer for defenseman Greg Pateryn.
As he was preparing for the postseason, Pateryn felt "excruciating" pain in his back and down his leg and eventually required surgery to feel better — this after he had already missed most of the regular season after sports hernia surgery.
In all, the 30-year-old logged just 20 games in 2019-20 and wasn't part of the Wild's return in the bubble. But now he's back with the group and eager to help.
"Nobody ever wants to get hurt, especially something that takes you out for a majority of the year," Pateryn said. "Then to watch your team go to playoffs and not be there to help them out is another devastating thing. I'm just happy that I'm feeling good and able to get back to my old self where I am a force defensively and I'm able to play my style of game without any hesitation."
It looks like Pateryn will get a chance to re-establish himself in the lineup. So far in camp, he has worked with Carson Soucy, filling out what looks like the team's third pairing.
"Every defensive corps wants to have a physical nature to their group, and he's a guy that's going to provide that for us," Evason said.
Stalock remains out indefinitely with an upper-body injury suffered before training camp, but Evason said Stalock has still been around the practice rink.
"He's not available for us to go on the ice at this point," Evason said. "We are evaluating him daily and hope to get him back, obviously, as soon as possible."