It’s hard not to have a good feeling after last night’s 6-0 thumping of the New York Islanders by the Minnesota Wild. However, for one Wild youngster, yesterday revealed a sobering reminder as to how brutal the game of hockey can be.
After having what was supposedly a “minor procedure” during the Olympic break, Minnesota young gun Jason Zucker will likely be out for the rest of the season after re-aggravating his knee in the process of training for a return to the lineup. He is expected to need additional knee surgery, and Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has indicated that it has turned into something quite serious for the hero of last season’s short-lived playoff run.
As expected, Zucker doesn’t seem to be taking it very well, tweeting:
I have no idea how to handle this… #rattled
— Jason Zucker (@Jason_Zucker16) March 18, 2014
If he is indeed out the rest of the season, there’s a good chance rookie Erik Haula is here to stay for at least the remainder of the season. There’s no question this is a big blow to both Zucker and the Wild. We’ll have more as the situation develops.
Yesterday, it was reported that the Wild was one of a few clubs said to be in the running for undrafted collegiate free agent brothers Greg and Matt Carey. Both young players dominated the Canadian Junior “A” ranks before taking their talents to the NCAA’s St. Lawrence University. According to the Watertown Daily Times, the brothers are expected to make their decisions at some point later on today. The elder Carey brother, Greg, is said to be the best forward available in this year’s unrestricted collegiate free agent crop.
In addition, Minnesota is also supposedly in on UMass-Lowell Swedish defenseman Christian Folin. After three seasons spent between the USHL’s Fargo Force and the NAHL’s Austin Bruins, Folin played two seasons with the River Hawks, scoring 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points in 75 games.
A hulking defenseman at 6’3″ 210-pounds, EliteProspects.com describes the youngster as:
A defenseman of decent size. Has good potential to become a skilled defenseman in the future. Keeps his game fairly simple and uses his body at good opportunities. Has decent offensive qualities, such as his shot, but is at his best in the defensive zone. (Matias Strozyk)
Folin is thought to be perhaps the best undrafted collegiate free agent skater available this year and is expected by many scouts to be able to step in and skate regular shifts on an NHL roster immediately. In addition, we all know how much this organization prizes talented young Swedish defensemen. What’s even better is that he’s a right-shot defender–something Minnesota sorely lacks both in its NHL defensive corps and its prospect pool.
Need any more reasons to get excited about this kid? Here’s a video of Folin blasting a shorty through the opposing net.
You’ve got some drool on your chin you need to wipe up. There, that’s better. Expect Fletcher to make a strong push for the kid.
No game for the Wild tonight, but it should be a fun, scrappy affair between St. Louis and Chicago for NBC Sports Network’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” showdown. The puck will drop on that game at 7:00 PM CT. If the Blues win, they become the first team in the league to punch their ticket to the 2014 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.