Headed south to Des Moines for the Iowa Wild’s training camp are forwards Raphael Bussieres, Josh Caron, Kris Foucault, Tyler Graovac, Erik Haula and Zack Phillips, defensemen Corbin Baldwin, Colton Jobke and Kyle Medvec, and goaltenders Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson. Hopefully joining them after passing through waivers will be forwards Carson McMillan, Stephane Veilleux and Chad Rau, and defensemen Brian Connelly, Steven Kampfer, Jon Landry and Jonathon Blum.
In addition, 2013 third round pick Kurtis Gabriel was returned to the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack for his overage season.
— Kurtis Gabriel (@Gaber_29) September 24, 2013
Defenseman Tyler Cuma and forwards Brett Bulmer and Mike Rupp are still injured, and Rupp is the only one of the trio with a legitimate claim to a roster spot. Cuma and Bulmer will be in Des Moines once fully healthy. What’s interesting are the names still left in camp.
Of the youngsters with a serious chance of making the roster, all of them are still in camp, but not all of them will be on the opening roster. Charlie Coyle is a lock, Jason Zucker has the inside track on No. 2 left wing and proved it with an impressive performance last night. If those two spots are claimed, can Mikael Granlund outperform Nino Niederreiter for third line right wing? If he can’t, he’ll likely be looking at starting the season in Iowa. If Rupp’s injury lingers, Justin Fontaine may steal his spot on the fourth line.
Even more interesting is the fact that Mathew Dumba, not Jonathon Blum, currently sits inside Minnesota’s top-8 defensemen. The question is now whether he can outplay Clayton Stoner or Nate Prosser for a spot on Minnesota’s blue line. With his right-shot, it’s more a matter of whether he can jump Prosser on the right side. If nothing else, he’ll likely get the usual nine game cup of coffee before being sent back to Red Deer for one more season.
The young guns are making each roster cut a difficult decision for the Wild brass with every impressive preseason performance. As we’ve seen on occasion this training camp, not everyone is going to have a perfect game, and there will be struggles, but it seems that these kids have the maturity to put a bad shift, or series of shifts, behind them and get back to what makes them so successful. With a little over a week until opening night, the roster still isn’t set in stone. A lot can change. A lot will change.
Be sure to watch tonight’s edition of ESPN’s “E:60″ at 7/6 Central for a special feature on Wild forward Jake Dowell, and his family’s struggle with Huntington’s Disease. Here is a preview I wrote for GPW last week. We wish nothing but the best for the Dowells.
Follow Dakota Case at Twitter.com/Dakota_case