The Minnesota Wild dropped their preseason opener Tuesday evening to the Dallas Stars, 2-1 in overtime. They’ll take the ice tonight in Winnipeg to take on the Jets in preseason game number two. Here are five things to watch for tonight when the Wild take the ice.
1. Last night Alex Stalock got the start between the pipes and played the entire game. For game number two the Wild will turn to youngsters, Mat Robson and Kaapo Kahkonen. The guess is Robson will get the start and Kahkonen will relieve him at some point in the contest.
2. Joel Eriksson Ek is in for a battle for the fourth line center position. Eriksson Ek recently signed a two-year deal. The former first round pick is coming off a season in which he scored seven goals and recorded seven assists.
3. Victor Rask, the man Paul Fenton traded Nino Niederreiter for will be battling Eriksson Ek for that fourth line center. In 23 games with the Wild, Rask looked slow and recorded just three points, scoring two goals and one assist. How Rask performs throughout the preseason and training camp will be something to keep close tabs on. With how bad Rask looked last season it’s easy to forget that in 2016-2017, he posted a 45 point season and the season before that he finished with 48 points.
4. Jordan Greenway is currently slotted on the third line with Luke Kunin and captain, Mikko Koivu. In 81 games played last season the former 50th overall pick finished with 24 points, scoring 12 goals and recorded 12 assists. Greenway is one of many candidates to enjoy a breakout season for the Wild. If Greenway does breakout, it will go a long way in helping the Wild get back into the playoffs.
5. Nico Sturm is currently on the outside looking in as a roster hopeful. Sturm can play center and could be fighting Eriksson Ek and Rask for that fourth line center position, but he’ll really have to stand out in order to beat out the former first round pick and a player that is just two years removed from a 45 point season.