The Wild are in a unique spot, in terms of the long-running narrative of the team. For years The Wild scrapped around in the NHL trash-bin for offensive talent with which to build a team, with minimal success. Their drafting was spotty at best, and late in the Risebrough era became downright unwatchable. They had no ammunition to pull of trades of any significance, and Minnesota was akin to Calgary in terms of a destination spot for free agents.
That left Wild fans having to watch an inordinate amount of bottom six (or worse, minor league replacement-level) forwards mis-cast as scorers. Jeremy Stevenson on a second line.* 77 fabulous games of Nick Johnson. Antti Miettinen playing on the top unit for multiple years. I literally woke up one day to watch the Wild playing on national television a few years ago and thought “well, at least Chad Rau is playing today.” True story. Continue reading →
The Wild made some roster-trimming moves today. Nothing that was amazingly earth-shattering, but there are some nuggets involved that are mildly enlightening, both in terms of the players that are gone as well as those who are still around.
First, the hard facts: The Wild sent Brett Bulmer, Tyler Graovac and Guillaume Gelinas to Iowa, waived Justin Falk, Jonathan Blum and Joel Rechlicz, and sent goaltender Brandon Whitney back to juniors in Victoriaville in the QMJHL.
No surprises among the three players outrighted to Iowa. Gelinas fits the mold of a pure AHL defender. He’s mobile and scored a ton in the QMJHL (albeit in an overage year), but he’s smallish to tiny for a defenseman, and probably doesn’t have everything you need to compete at the top level. In terms of a comparable in Wild history, think Maxime Noreau, which is…not good. Continue reading →
As the season approaches, a quick glance at the bottom six forward pool for the Wild shows a distinct lack of true toughness and grit. Sure, they have players like Kyle Brodziak, Nino Niederreiter (if and when his contract gets signed) and Matt Cooke, but while all of these players hit, they really aren’t the type of muscle who will deter an opponent from going after someone like Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise, or Minnesota’s new, moderately expensive toy, Thomas Vanek. Beyond that, the fourth-line muscle could be filled out with players like Brett Bulmer, Cody Almond and Brett Sutter, but none of those players are a guarantee to even make the team out of training camp, let alone anchor an energy line. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →