No this isn’t the MLB’s Campaign to make Baseball fun again. It’s the Minnesota Wild finding out what they have in their young players
It’s been a very long time since the Minnesota Wild were in a position to draft high-level prospects. Until last season, the Minnesota Wild did not have a draft pick lower than fifteen since 2012 when they picked Matt Dumba seventh overall. Usually, with later-round picks, it takes serious time to develop the prospects. Carson Soucy is a prime example, he was selected in the fifth round in 2013 and it looks like he’s now NHL ready six years later. If the Wild are to rebuild, they have to let their young players get more expansive and important roles. Let’s start with an obvious one:
The Promised One
There is one date the entire Minnesota Wild FanBase is counting down to. April 30th.
Don’t believe me?
Look we all know what he brings. Don’t criticize him if he doesn’t meet expectations immediately. Ease him into the state and the League. Don’t be surprised if they sign Mikhail Grigorenko (Kappy’s KHL teammate), Vladislav Namestnikov, or maybe trade for a Russian (Nikita Gusev?) to help him get accommodated and comfortable.
Don’t look now but the Iowa Wild are having a great season: 7-1-4 and all but one of the losses are Shootout Losses. And look at these alternate tarps for the Lil’ Wild
I personally love these jerseys. Might have to snag a Mayhew or a Robson. Back to the kids.
Remember during the preseason when the narrative was “How are we going to find spots for any of these guys having good camps?”
Basically, the same thing happened in Iowa. This squad is so deep. Let’s look at some of these guys
The information comes from Joe O’Donnell on the Michael Russo Straight From The Source Podcast.
The all-time leading scorer in Iowa Wild history, “On the ice, no one more gifted with the puck on his stick, a wizard on the power play, undersized, has to be a bit better defensive, scores goals and sets up people.” He’s a right-handed shot to boot.
He’s currently on the top Line, “Unlikely he would play this year, but will get his chance with Minnesota, Needs to be a more direct player. Skating Ability is NHL ready. Very Speedy.”
“Ridiculous offensive numbers for a defenseman, adds a lot offensively, joins rush at right times, 25-27 minutes a night.”
“A kid who has opened eyes, Big strong and fast, great chip and chase game, great hands.”
“Hasn’t had a lot of opportunity because of the Iowa Wild depth. Good skater and he competes.”
“Doesn’t skate great, got reassigned to Allen from Iowa, but did get recalled, 16G in limited role (10min a night), NHL level shot, came into camp in the best shape he’s been, but maybe didn’t meet certain criteria for Iowa. Depth didn’t give him a chance and got reassigned to play. A 7th round pick, but he can develop. Can’t give up on a kid like that”
Not from Joe O’Donnel, but already claimed as the best Celly-er in Wild history, a claim with some of the good ones from Staal, Zucker, and Moose. Let’s check the tape.
Someone has played too much NHL 20. That said, we love to see the passion.
“Sent back to juniors because he had junior eligibility and would get more playing time, wasn’t going to make Iowa’s top 12, even with call ups and injuries. He can skate and shoot, so he has value.”
Mat Robson and Kaapo Kahkonen
For Robson: “Absolute Sure Thing, Sub 2GAA, Frederic Chabot (Minnesota Wild Goaltending Development Coach) said, Looks comfortable and is talented”
For Kaapo, “6-1 start, doesn’t have as good numbers as Robson but gets wins. Makes one more save than the other guy. The end of last year was emotionally spent and the numbers showed. Had a 222-minute shutout streak last year, could play games as early as this year for Minnesota.”
Gerry Mayhew aka GERRY TIME
“Huge level of competition. Has the clutch gene and scores big goals. He doesn’t get down on himself.” The first game sent back to Iowa, he did this to first overall pick Filip Zadina:
Don’t sleep on his celly ability either.
Look he’s not going to be a part of the rebuild. He was signed to an AHL deal to keep playing hockey. O’Donnell said, “Knew he wasn’t going to play unless a spot opened up. But, oddly enough, he’s a decent Color Commentator when not playing. Also, remember back in April when I said that Cody McLeod wouldn’t take a contract with Minnesota? Pretty goofy.
Also don’t forget Mason Shaw, who had an electric year last season, but is rehabbing from an ACL tear.
Non-Iowa Wild Players
We’ll show some love to the prospects too.
Selected in this year’s draft, Hunter Jones is off to a 10-1-1 start in the OHL Peterborough Petes. The goalie pipeline is looking very good.
The Boston College Boys (Matt Boldy, Jack McBain, and Marshall Warren)
Scott Wheeler at The Athletic recently did an article outlining the future of the three BC Eagle- Wild drafted, prospects.
On McBain, Scott Wheeler reported:
"Legendary Boston College head coach Jerry York sees something in McBain, a big, tall kid who is working on his mobility, that he saw in an old player of his. “He reminds me an awful lot of Brian Boyle when he first came to BC and he’s got 14 years in the NHL now,” York said."
On Boldy, Wheeler:
"Dan Hinote, associate head coach with USA Hockey, sees similarities between Boldy and Marian Hossa and Patrice Bergeron. “(Hossa and Bergeron) took just as much pride in stripping guys of pucks on the defensive side as (they) did scoring goals on the offensive side,” Hinote said. “Boldy’s the same way. That’s rare for somebody to put that much pride in their defensive game.”"
"He (Dan Hinote) believes Warren is the type of player who will wear a letter wherever he plays and could someday be a captain at the highest level. Whenever USA Hockey staff needed someone to round up the team making sure everyone was on time, they’d call on Warren to sort them out. Whenever the team was stuck in “travel hell” on a bus, or in an airport, Warren would calm everyone down. “He was a godsend for us because having a guy like that in the locker room when things go sideways, it’s invaluable to a team,” Hinote said. “His leadership skills are off the charts. You’re getting just as good a person as you are a hockey player.”"
Safe to say the Eagles have some high caliber talent. It might be a year or two until they’re NHL ready, which is perfectly fine.
Speaking of time…