In part two of our Opening Night Lineup projections for the Minnesota Wild we look at the defense and goaltending situation. Ok, well maybe the goaltending is a sure bet as to which two will start the season, but the blue line is a little more uncertain. Again we’ll use the TSN.ca predictions as a starting base. ***note, this post was written Wednesday night prior to any roster moves being announced.
A brilliant move in my opinion if in fact this is how the Wild open the season by putting the young and upstart Spurgeon with the dynamic player in Suter. Spurgeon was turning heads at camp this week and will be relied upon to elevate his game to the next level after being in the shadows of the Wild defensive corps for the past couple of seasons.
Suter, we all know came to Minnesota on the heels of one of the two massive deals dished out this past summer and like Zach Parise, he will receive plenty of attention and focus. With the hefty contracts come hefty expectations and Suter is no exception.
This obviously won’t be the case thanks to Scandella being injured but when he returns it makes logical sense to pair him with Gilbert. In the mean time, you could expect Justin Falk to be the likely replacement to be paired with Gilbert. This would be another wise move to place a young d-man with a veteran like Gilbert.
A solid number three pairing that will only get better as the season progresses. Stoner and Prosser will be relied upon to help alleviate some of the playing minutes from the top two pairings early on in the season to keep the injuries at bay. With the extra ice-time comes extra responsibility of keeping the puck out of your own net and given how nicely Prosser has played this week, expect big things defensively from this pair.
Steven Kampfer is likely the number seven d-man after camp, until Scandella returns. Paul Mara is sitting in Houston waiting for an opportunity to make it back to the bigs and prospect Jonas Brodin is back skating with the club meaning there will be plenty of options if anyone struggles early.