Why the Wild needed Ryan Carter

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

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Wild Down to 27* Players

The Wild made several more cuts today,  dropping their roster to 27 players, with a severe catch. Continue reading

Who’s left? Observations on the 32 remaining players in camp

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

Should we be worried about Darcy Kuemper?

Now that Justin Fontaine has signed on with the Wild for another two years, only two pieces remain to bring back into the fold for the Wild, assuming no other free agent signings or trades happen this summer; two scenarios that seem unlikely at this point.

If you read Michael Russo’s column in the Star Tribune this morning, you may know that those two pieces are forward Nino Niederreiter and goalie Darcy Kuemper, and while negotiations with the former seem to be promising, talks with the latter haven’t been nearly as encouraging to date.

Actually, that isn’t even a fair assessment, as negotiations with Kuemper’s agent have been fairly non-existent, which is at best strange, and at worst cause for concern. Continue reading

Season in Review: Justin Fontaine

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. 

-Sigh-

So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:

Justin Fontaine, RW, Age 26 Continue reading

Season in Review: Erik Haula

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. 

-Sigh-

So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:

Erik Haula, C, Age 23 Continue reading

Season in Review: Stephane Veilleux

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. 

-Sigh-

So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:

Stephane Veilleux, LW, Age 32 Continue reading