The Minnesota Wild may be having their issues, but so far, everything seems to be smooth sailing down on the farm.
The Iowa Wild (3-1-0-0, 6 points) are set to host the Chicago Wolves (3-3-0-0, 6 points) tonight in Des Moines. After coming off a 7-2 road victory against the Charlotte Checkers, the baby Wild look for another win as they play their first divisional game of the season tonight.
In four games, the team is led in scoring by a trio of forwards. With four points each, centers Carson McMillan and Zack Phillips, and rookie left winger Erik Haula, lead the team with a combined five goals and seven assists for 12 points, a plus-6 rating, two power play goals and 27 shots. In addition, Phillips and McMillan are tied with Jake Dowell and Brett Bulmer for the team goal scoring lead with two apiece. Had he not been suspended two games, dynamic left winger Jason Zucker likely would be among or at the top of the names on this list. As it stands, Zucker has two assists for two points, a plus-2 rating and two shots in the two games (seeing a pattern here?) he has played thus far.
On the back end, defenseman Brian Connelly leads all Wild blue liners with three assists for three points, a plus-3 rating and 12 shots in four games. His shot total is tied with Haula for the team lead.
In net, Johan Gustafsson has been brilliant in Darcy Kuemper’s absence, notching a 2-0-0 record, .984 save percentage, 0.50 goals against average and one shutout in his North American pro rookie season. In the two games Kuemper has played between call-ups to the big club, he’s put together a 1-1-0 record, .898 save percentage and 3.04 goals against average. In one game with Minnesota, Kuemper would take the loss after allowing three goals on seven shots for a .571 save percentage and 5.63 goals against average in 32:22 played before being pulled in a 4-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tonight is the beginning of a five-game home stand for Iowa. It’s important to note that the Wild have scored the first goal in every game and have outscored their opponents 13-7 on the season. They currently sit tied at second place with Milwaukee, Grand Rapids and Chicago in the American Hockey League’s Midwest Division with six points. Rockford commands the division lead with a 5-2-1-0 record for 11 points in eight games. Tonight’s game can be heard here.