Over the course of the next month, Konopkaesque will review each player who suited up for the Wild this season, with a few exceptions. 1) They had to play at least ten games during the season and/or playoffs (sorry, Brett Bulmer, Carson McMillan and John Curry) and 2) they had to finish the season as part of the organization, which ironically excludes the man for whom this blog is named, among others.
So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:
Nate Prosser, D, Age 28
Remaining contract (per capgeek):UFA in 2014
Games: 53 (Regular Season) 10 (Playoffs)
Goals: 2 (Regular Season) 0 (Playoffs)
Assists: 6 (Regular Season) 0 (Playoffs)
+/-: +2 (Regular Season) +2 (Playoffs)
PIM: 58 (Regular Season) 12 (Playoffs)
ATOI: 14:31 (Regular Season) 12:31 (Playoffs)
What Did He Do?: Prosser is what he is, a reliable, no-frills, safe-play, easy-minute third pairing defenseman who can take a seat when Ryan Suter is trying to hit that magical 30-minute mark. He’s also easily expendable, when his contract is up, which is right about…now.
Other than an over-time winner on a hockey day that fittingly started in his home town of Elk River (yay, narrative!) Prosser did little to draw attention to himself in the most unassuming, Minnesotan way possible. Every cliché you can think of has been thrown out about his game, and perhaps the most damning I can think of regarding an impending free agent is that he is a “good soldier,” which generally means, “we’ll ship you out at a moment’s notice. Thanks for playing.”
And while it is inevitable that Prosser will be out of town (partly due to a numbers game. The Wild are loaded with defensemen already, and have cap space to add another impact player if they find a fit), you may as well remember him fondly. He didn’t hurt the team, he didn’t complain when he was a healthy scratch, and he even dropped the gloves when called upon, especially in the middle of the season when the Wild were really bankrupt re: tough guys, in fights that he would likely lose. He always seemed like an affable dude, and he’ll likely catch on with another team; my guess would be as part of a rebuilding franchise. So when he returns to Xcel Energy Center in a road sweater next year and starts chipping really safe pucks off the wing boards and out of the zone, smile and speak well of him.
What to Expect if You’re Expecting: This has pretty much already been covered, so I’ll speak a little more about the defensive squeeze on Prosser. He and Clayton Stoner are both pending free agents, and with Christian Folin and Matt Dumba both competing for spots next year (not to mention the possible free agent mentioned above), likely only one will be kept. Dumba is a much higher potential player with offensive skill, Stoner is far more physical, which the Wild still need on the back-end, and Folin is at-worst a Prosser clone who is younger and cheaper. That pretty much settles his future.
Trade Prospects?: Nope.
Season Highlight: The aforementioned Hockey Day game winner vs. Dallas. This may end up being the best moment of his career, but you could do a lot worse: