Minnesota Wild: Wild Players Shine at World Championship

The 2016 IIHF World Championships featured five Minnesota Wild players from their active roster for four different countries.  Each player had a unique impact and offered just a few more moments of hockey for Wild fans before the summer takes them away till September.

The 2016 IIHF World Championship concluded yesterday in Russia after 16 days of excellent completion between some of the world’s best players.  Team Canada would be the ones to walk away with the gold with their 2-0 take down of Finland in the finals.  With 400 players representing 16 different countries there was no shortage of excitement and storylines in every game.

Although the patriating players were from many professional leagues across Europe and North America, the NHL players stood out as they always do.  The Minnesota Wild had five active roster players in the tournament spread over four different teams.  The team also moved to add a new member during the tournament by signing Hungarian goaltender Adam Vay to an entry-level contract.

With the games all in the record books, and the medals given out there’s no doubt that the Wild players that participated all had strong impacts on the tournament and their teams.  Here’s a roundup of who from the Wild played and how their performance faired and how it helped their team.

Canada:

Mathew Dumba:  Dumba largely had a quiet, yet solid tournament for the gold medal winners.  He tallied 1 goal and one assist in the tournament all in the same game Canada’s, six-point blanking of Sweden in the Quarterfinals.  Still it can be said that Dumba played solid defense as he finished with a plus 8 which was 16th best in the tournament.  That’s a promising result for a player who has been criticized for his defensive instincts, but still you have to ask if that is because of the great Canadian team or his individual effort?

USA:

Jordan Schroeder: The young Wild forward and former Gopher Schroeder had a hard tournament.  By all accounts Team USA had a strong tournament finishing 4th just out of a medal, but Schroeder struggled to make a huge contribution to that effort.  He was able to muster up 19 shots on goal, but was unable to convert those shots into any goals.  His lone assist was his only point in the tournament, and to top it off he finished at minus 3.  For a player who is looking to get a good performance in before negotiating a free-agency contract, Schroeder fell a bit short.

Switzerland:

Nino Niederreiter: Niederreiter had a strong tournament and finished tied for first in goals and points for Team Switzerland.  Niederreiter’s 3 goals and 3 assists were a strong showing, but alas his team could only muster a 2-2-3 record good enough for 6th in Group A and was not enough to advance to the medal round.

Hungary:

Adam Vay: The Wild decided to sign Vay despite of losses in his two starts against Finland and the United States, as well as falling to Canada in a relief start.  Still it was how Vay lost that led to the Wild’s offer.  He made 35 saves against the US, 48 saves against Finland, and stopped 11 of 12 shots against Canada.

Finland:

Mikko Koivu: It was a strong tournament for the Wild captain as Koivu netted 4 goals and racked up 6 assists. Playing on a line with Wild teammate Mikael Granlund, Koivu finished 9th in scoring, tied for 14th in goals, tied for 10th in assists, and 8th in face-offs.  Not to mention his leadership as Finland’s captain was good enough to propel the team to a silver medal finish.

Mikael Granlund: If you needed any proof of what Granlund is capable of by moving to the Wing look no further than his performance in Russia.  For Finland, Granny tallied 4 goals and 8 assists playing on a Koivu centered line.  His 12 points were good enough to be tied for 4th in tournament scoring, begging the question where was that all year for the Wild?  All kidding aside it was the strongest tournament of the four active Wild players, and showed what Granlund can do if given the freedom to do so.

With the offseason about to be in full effect these tournament goers will be resting for sure.  The hope though is that all of them will have gained even more great experience and hockey moments that they will take into Wild training camp in September.  All that aside, it was just a great time to watch some of the Wild players just a few moments more before the summer hockey slumber begins.