While the Minnesota Wild have some how managed to find a way to stay alive in the playoff hunt, it’s been all the Iowa Wild can do to stay healthy let alone win games. Fortunately, reinforcements are on the way.
Today, the Baby Wild announced that Minnesota forward prospects Brady Brassart and Kurtis Gabriel have signed amateur tryout agreements to join the team upon the conclusion of their respective Canadian major junior seasons. Having signed with Minnesota earlier this season, the duo still had to sign ATOs with Iowa for the purpose of playing immediately as their entry-level deals with the big club are set to kick in this fall.
Here’s the full press release via the team’s official website:
Des Moines, IA – Iowa Wild General Manager Jim Mill announced on Tuesday the American Hockey League (AHL) club has signed forwards Kurtis Gabriel and Brady Brassart to Amateur Tryout Agreements (ATO). Mill also announced that forward Jim McKenzie has been released from a Professional Tryout Agreement (PTO).
Gabriel, 20 (4/20/93), recorded 51 points (16-35=51), including three game-winning goals, 99 penalty minutes (PIM) and a plus-3 rating in 60 games with the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound native of New Market, Ont., served as an assistant captain and led his team in assists, tied for the team lead in PIM and tied for second in scoring. He has tallied 100 points (34-66=100) and 291 PIM in 232 career OHL games over four seasons with Owen Sound. Gabriel was selected by Minnesota in the third-round (81st overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Brassart has collected 85 points (35-50=85) including 11 power-play goals, six game-winning goals, a plus-11 rating and 94 penalty minutes (PIM) in 70 games with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound native of Vernon, B.C., tied for Calgary’s lead in scoring and in assists, while finishing tied for second in goals and third in PIM. In six playoffs games, Brassart led his club in scoring with three goals and six assists for nine points. He finished tied for 15th in the WHL in scoring and tied for 19th in goals. The 20-year-old has tallied 269 points (112-157=269), 374 PIM and a plus-92 rating in 323 games over five seasons in the WHL.
McKenzie has played in 26 games for Iowa this season, scoring three times and adding five assists for eight points. The rugged right wing has also racked up 36 penalty minutes. The seventh-year pro has played in 93 career American Hockey League games, totaling seven goals and 17 points.
Iowa continues a five-game road trip on Wednesday, Apr. 2 at 6 p.m. in Grand Rapids. The team will also make stops in Chicago and Milwaukee prior to returning home on Friday, April 11 for Chicago at 7:05 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.
The duo joins Minnesota defensive prospects Gustav Olofsson and Dylan Labbe as fresh-faced AHL rookies. Olofsson is expected to start next season in Iowa, though he could just as easily be playing with the big club or–interestingly enough–reassigned to Portland of the Western Hockey League. Labbe will most likely return to Shawinigan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for one more season of major junior puck.
Fellow Canadian Hockey League Wild prospects, defenseman Mathew Dumba and right winger Zack Mitchell, are still in the middle of what looks to be a pair of deep playoff runs. Dumba has four assists and a plus-6 rating in four games with Portland, while Mitchell leads the Ontario League’s Guelph Storm in playoff scoring with two goals and six assists for eight points in five games.
Iowa will play its last home game on Wednesday, April 16th, against the Chicago Wolves before concluding the season with a pair of games against the Barons in Oklahoma City on the 18th and 19th.