Wild call up Jesper Wallstedt to start Sunday in Chicago

The Wild are giving goaltender Jesper Wallstedt a chance to rebound from a lopsided loss in his NHL debut.

Wallstedt was added from the minors on Saturday and is scheduled to start Sunday at Chicago when the Wild begin a five-game road trip with six games to go in the regular season.

"He's certainly earned it," coach John Hynes said, "and he's a real bright prospect for us."

After traveling to Sweden as their third goaltender in November, Wallstedt returned to play his first NHL game at Dallas on Jan. 10 and the Wild were routed 7-2 by the Stars; Wallstedt finished with 27 saves.

Since then, he rejoined Iowa in the American Hockey League and owned a 21-19-3 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .908 save percentage along with two shutouts in 43 games before this latest call-up.

"He's obviously gone down and played really well down there," Hynes said, "and I think took some growth from his experience here and has gone down and played some really good hockey. So, he's playing at the top of his game, which is good."

A first-round pick drafted 20th overall by the Wild in 2021, the 6-3, 214-pound Wallstedt is in his second pro season since leaving his native Sweden.

Whether or not the 21-year-old receives another assignment after Sunday's start is unclear, with Hynes mentioning the team planning to evaluate on a game-by-game basis.

What's also been discussed is bringing up other young players from Iowa to give them action with the Wild, who are close to being elimination from playoff contention, and there is a possibility others get the opportunity that is awaiting Wallstedt.

"I'd like to see our team play a real strong game in front of him," Hynes said. "I don't think he had probably a fair shake in his first one — not just on him, but I think our team game in general. Those are the two things that I'm looking for that are important for him."