According to the Star Trib, one-time erstwhile fourth line center (and frequent flier extraordinaire) Cody Almond is very much alive, not living in Argentina under an assumed name and even still plays hockey. Now it seems he may be returning to the Wild organization.
Almond, the former 5th round pick (2007) who has been playing with Geneve Servette in the Swiss-A League for the last two years after telling the Wild to get stuffed when they wanted to send him to Houston before the 2012-13 season, is reportedly about to tell the Wild to get un-stuffed as he wants back on the team. On top of that, Russo reports, he’ll likely get a one-way contract, which was the only way he could turn down a more lucrative 5-year deal with Geneve Servette, who, I must say, sound like they make quality dishware in the offseason.
Almond played in 25 games over three seasons for the Wild, not doing too much to distinguish himself. How anonymous was he? Well, Here’s one of two goals he scored for the Wild…
…and I can’t find the other one. Although he did once punch Andrew Shaw in the face, which is good.
A few thoughts on this:
1. Almond apparently was an excellent player for Geneve. Sure, it’s the Swiss League, so not exactly a great proving ground, but the man left when he was 22, and by all accounts grew up quite a bit over there. His offensive totals were decent; 26 goals and 38 assists over two seasons (83 games). But no one is thinking he’ll step in and provide offense.
2. This could mean the end for Kyle Brodziak, once and for all. If Almond is getting a one-way deal, he’s a strong candidate to stick around, as Russo mentions. He’s younger than Brodziak, and certainly cheaper. Also he’s tougher, as the Shaw fight indicates. There are several other fight videos on youtube if you want to check them out. Young Cody isn’t shy, and he holds his own. Not saying the two moves are definitely connected, but if Almond does sign in the next few days, and Brodziak is traded before camp, Almond’s chances of being in the opening-night lineup improve dramatically.
3. The Steve Ott interest. If you want Steve Ott to join the Wild, you may as well want Almond. The only thing that Ott has that Almond does not is a reputation. As in the Brodziak scenario, Almond is younger, cheaper, and tough enough to give the Wild’s fourth line some bite. Steve Ott was atrocious last year, just ask anyone in Buffalo and/or St. Louis, so let’s not go after someone just because he’s a name.
So we’ll see. This story may turn out to be but a blip, but since the second-most interesting piece of off-season news thus far for the Wild involves Stu Bickel, I’ll take what I can get to write about at this point.