The Minnesota Wild are done for the season after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are still a couple of players who once pulled on a Wild sweater in the hunt for the Stanley Cup in 2013. The two teams in the Western Conference finals, the Los Angeles kings and the Chicago Blackhawks have no former Wild players. The Blackhawks do have one player who should be in a Wild Jersey, Nick Leddy. He never got the chance to skate with the Minnesota NHL franchise as he was traded along with Kim Johnsson for Cam Barker in the worst trade Minnesota Wild management has ever made. That is a tirade for another day however. The Eastern Conference Finals feature the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins who have one ex-wild apiece. Remember fans, to date, the best way for a Wild player to hoist the Stanley Cup is to play for another team.
The first team with a former Wild players is the Pittsburgh Penguins with Pascal Dupuis. The 34 year old right wing from Laval, Quebec played for the Wild from their inception in 2000 until he was traded to the New York Rangers for Adam Hall on February 9th 2007. While with Minnesota Dupuis accumulated 67 goals, 74 assists for a total of 141 points over 334 regular season games. He played in 16 playoff games for the Wild, totaling 4 goals and 4 assists, all in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoff. Pascal was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers by the Rangers along with the NY Rangers’ 3rd round draft pick in 2007 Entry Draft on February 27, 2007. Dupuis was traded yet again, this time to his current team, The Penguins on February 26, 2008. Throughout his career teams have seemed to prefer trading him rather than negotiating a new contract. The trade to the Penguins consisted of Dupuis, Marian Hossa coming form the Thrashers in exchange for Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito and Pittsburgh’s 1st round pick in the 2008 draft. Pittsburgh definitely gat the best of this trade with Dupuis and Hossa Still playing at an elite level, and both in the conference finals this season. Hossa looks to pick up the Stanley Cup once again, this time as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Only one of the four players the Thrashers received, Colby Armstrong, is still playing in the NHL. Since joining
the Penguins Dupuis has become a fan favorite, Sidney Crosby‘s line mate, and had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. He’s accumulated 104 goals, 118 assists totaling 222 points over 379 regular season games spanning 6 seasons. In the post season he’s appeared in 73 games for Pittsburgh totaling 14 goals and 18 assists. 7 of those goals have come this postseason, by far his most productive. I will never understand why the Wild traded Dupuis rather than keep him, of course Doug Risebrough made a lot of interesting (dumb) things in his tenure as Wild General Manager. Over 12 NHL seasons Pascal Dupuis has averaged 15 goals and 17 assists while skating in an average of 67 games. Over the last 6 years he’s only missed an average of 2.66 games per season and only 2 games over the last four seasons, a very durable player indeed.
The second ex-wild with the possibility of winning the Stanley Cup is the Boston Bruins’ Anton Khudobin, a 27 year old goaltender from Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan. He is the back up to Tukka Rask as the Bruins go for their second cup in 3 years. Khudobin was acquired by the Wild in the 7th round of the 2004 entry draft, the 206th pick overall. He appeared in 6 games for the Wild over the course of 2 seasons. He saw action in 2 games in the 2009-10 season winning both times. He was back for 4 games in the following 2010-11 season going 2-1 over 4 appearances. He’s posted NHL career marks of 2.03 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. Khudobin was traded to Boston by Minnesota for Jeff Penner and Mikko Lehtonen, February 28, 2011. Neither player acquired by Minnesota is even playing anywhere in the Wild’s minor league system as of this past season. Given the Wild’s goal tending woes during this year’s playoffs it would have been nice to have Khudobin available as a call up from the Aeros (Now the Iowa Wild).
That wraps it up. Four conference final teams totaling 114 players and just two have worn a Minnesota Wild Sweater at some point in their career. Maybe nest season will be the time that total jumps to 30! Until we meet again this is Scott Drain saying, Let’s Go Wild!!