After putting the lines in the blender early in the season, it seems that Bruce Boudreau is at least satisfied with the lines. The line he should be most proud of is the GEEK Squad.
The Minnesota Wild have found themselves dead last in the league. For the rebuild, this is perfectly fine! Seeing where the league is moving, the game is getting very fast, smaller, and younger, the antithesis of what the current Minnesota Wild is. Don’t worry though, the future isn’t THAT dim. Thanks to @mnwprospects for this three tweet thread:
The pipeline is looking pretty good, and I think that the kids (and the Head Coach, whoever that might be in the future) could learn from the improved play of the young line of Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Luke Kunin (aka The GEEK Squad).
At the start of the season, Greenway, Eriksson Ek, and Kunin did not play on a line together, despite a strong camp together.
This isn’t a new thing either. This from Last Season’s Camp
And this from Preseason Scrimmage Four Years Ago
It seems that Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek like playing together. It looks like adding Kunin takes that to another level.
The last four games, Greenway, Eriksson Ek, and Kunin have been put on a line together, and they’ve generated 18 shots, only 3 assists (but a myriad of scoring chances), averaging about 17:15 time on ice per game.
What stands out the most within the line is that they keep the puck in the offensive zone for extended periods, which help create more offensive opportunities for themselves, the blue line, and other lines. Greenway and Eriksson Ek are both big and all three are not afraid to be physical. Yet they play a very disciplined game. Last night, Joel Eriksson Ek ate several punches from Buffalo Captain Jack Eichel, but instead of throwing his gloves off and retaliating, he just tried to keep him at bay, hoping that the rush Kunin and Greenway were on would continue, and not even up the penalties for the squad. In return, JEEK gave his team a four-minute power play.
What I would love to see more of is Greenway-Eriksson Ek-Kunin on the Powerplay more. I think it’s absurd they aren’t using Greenway’s huge body with the man advantage. I think Eriksson Ek might be the best forechecker the Wild has and can be essential to keeping the puck in the zone. I think Kunin has one of the best shots on the team, and being one of the few righties, provides opportunities for shots to be taken quickly.
It also helps to give the future of this team more responsibility. These kids are going to be the future of the franchise, give them the keys.
The prospects should look to this line as to how to battle through adversity. Luke Kunin in his last five games, most of which with Greenway and Eriksson Ek, has two goals and two assists. In the other fourteen, he had two goals and one assist. Jordan Greenway finally secured his first goal this season after a very slow start. Joel Eriksson Ek is a serious problem for teams defending the forecheck.
These guys are going to be models for Kiril Kaprizov, Nico Sturm, Matt Boldy, Jack McBain, and more. It’s time to give them more important roles.