The Minnesota Wild begin a stretch of three straight exhibition games at the Xcel Energy Center on Monday against Colorado. It kicks off a key week for roster hopefuls with the regular season on Oct. 15 at Anaheim.
“We’re going to have a nice situation to see these guys play,” Wild coach Dean Evason said during a media availability session on Sunday. “You’ll see some positions that we want to see people in and try to give them the best opportunity to show and hopefully (the competition) separates itself. Hopefully we have tough decisions but usually it separates itself.”
One of the bubble players is Adam Beckman, who has made an impression with his willingness to shoot the puck when given the opportunity. Michael Russo of the Athletic wrote about the opportunity for Beckman, who has put himself in the roster conversation alongside with prospect players like Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi.
Beckman told Russo earlier this week that:
"“I just want to continue to try and play my game the way I usually do and be confident and just try to put myself in the best position to continue to improve and give myself a shot,” Beckman said. “I think everybody has that same mentality. They’re coming here to get a roster spot and do whatever they can to do that, and that’s my focus too just to continue to try and improve and get better, be confident every day to put myself in the best position to do so.”"
Evason said the goal is to have the team and the first call-ups from Iowa determined by Oct. 10 when the players head to Duluth for a bonding opportunity ahead of the start of the NHL season. This week’s schedule includes back-to-back games against the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks before the exhibition schedule ends on Saturday in Chicago.
“We’ve still got a healthy competition going on,” Evason said. “It’s exciting for us.”
The team expects to call up maybe six players from Iowa to fill some spots and eliminate the need for some individuals to play on back-to-back nights.
While the Wild have dropped each of their first two exhibition games, Evason saw positiive signs from the the St. Louis to Colorado contests.
“We liked a lot of stuff in our hockey game (on Thursday) with our group ,” Evason said on Friday. “Obviously you want to get rewarded with a ‘W’ obviously and you want to have that feeling, but we did a lot of good things.
“We talked about the first game (against St. Louis) that maybe our older guys or NHL guys weren’t as good as they were last night,” Evason said. “We really liked the effort of our entire group (against Colorado). You could tell with the engagement physically that (the season) is getting closer. It’s another step forward and we were happy with a lot of things in that hockey game.”