Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014-15 Outlook: Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars
Head Coach: Lindy Ruff (2nd Season in DAL)
Arena: American Airlines Center (Capacity: 18,532)
2013-14 Record: 40-31-11 (4th in Central Division)
Record vs MIN in 2013-14: 2-1-1
2013-14 Corsi For %: 51.5% (10th in NHL)
Top Scorer: Tyler Seguin (84 Points, 2.81 P/60)
Top Goaltender: Kari Lehtonen (33-20-10, 2.41 GAA, ..919 SV%)

Preseason Game Four & Lineup Thoughts

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today
In last night's fourth preseason game, Minnesota edged Pittsburgh 4-1. Jason Pominville netted a hat trick, Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves, and Ilya Bryzgalov was killing time by taking selfies with fans on the bench. Onto the notes...

Monday, September 29, 2014

2014-15 Outlook: Colorado Avalanche

Colorado Avalanche
Head Coach: Patrick Roy (2nd Season in COL)
Arena: Pepsi Center (Capacity: 18,007)
2013-14 Record: 52-22-8 (Central Division Champions)
Record vs MIN in 2013-14: 4-0-1
2013-14 Corsi For %: 46.6% (26th in NHL)
Top Scorer: Matt Duchene (70 Points, 2.55 P/60)
Top Goaltender: Semyon Varlamov (41-14-6, 2.41 GAA, .927 SV%)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014-15 Outlook: Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks
Head Coach: Joel Quenneville (7th season with CHI)
Arena: United Center (Capacity: 19,717)
2013-14 Record: 46-21-15 (3rd in Central Division)
Record vs MIN in 2013-14: 2-3-0
2013-14 Corsi For percentage: 54.21% (4th in NHL)
Top Scorer: Patrick Sharp (78 points, 2.29 P/60)
Top Goaltender: Corey Crawford (32-16-10, 2.26 GAA, .917 SV%)

Preseason Game Three Thoughts

Photo: Brad Rempel-USA Today
In last night's preseason game, it was the Wild edging the Jets 4-3 thanks to a late Jared Spurgeon goal. Here are some thoughts from last night's game:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014-15 Outlook: Atlantic Division

Today we begin out previews of the entire league with a look at how the Atlantic Division will finish.

Is Stu Bickel Worth The Risk?

Photo: Bruce Fedyck-USA Today

During Monday night's 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, all eyes were on Stu Bickell who was making his debut in a Wild jersey. Bickel played 12:17 and had 10 penalty minutes after a pair of fights he was involved in. After the game, Coach Mike Yeo noted Bickel as one of a couple of players who stood out to him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Josh Harding Out Indefinitely After Off-Ice Incident

Photo: NHL.com
Today the Wild officially announced that goaltender Josh Harding will be out indefinitely after suffering a fractured right foot. The injury occurred on Sunday September 14th during an off ice incident. The release also indicated that Harding will not need surgery.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Five Questions Going Into Training Camp

Photo: Wild.com
With training camp set to begin on Thursday, lets try and answer the top five questions surrounding the Wild:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #1 Matt Dumba

Matt Dumba
Shoots: Right
Height: 6'0". Weight: 183 lbs.
Born: July 25, 1994
2013-14 Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 1st round pick (7th overall) in 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 4

Last season, Wild fans were given a very small glimpse of the talents of Matt Dumba.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thoughts on Kuemper & Niederreiter

Nino Niederreiter (top middle) and Darcy Kuemper (Bottom middle) are still without contracts.
Photo: Duane Burleson/AP
This week reports surfaced that Darcy Kuemper could go play in the KHL if his contract dispute with the Wild is not settled. As Mike Russo has said on multiple occasions the Wild and Kuemper's agent, Jeff Helperl, have not had a great history as they went toe to toe in negotiations on Kuemper's entry level contract.

Top 10 Prospects: #2 Darcy Kuemper

Darcy Kuemper
Catches: Left
Height: 6'5". Weight: 205 lbs.
Born: May 5, 1990
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 6th round pick (161st overall) in 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 5

As noted back in June, no one player had more to do with turning the Wild's season around in January than Darcy Kuemper did. His 2.15 GAA and .932 save percentage in January was just what the Wild needed as they battled injuries to key players, and helped the team earn some much needed victories.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #3 Erik Haula

Erik Haula
Shoots: Left
Height: 5'11". Weight: 192 lbs
Born: March 23, 1991
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 7th round pick (182nd overall) in 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 6

"Haula does not seem like a fit to make the Wild roster this year". Those were the words written about Erik Haula on this site last year. Not only did he get a call-up to the Wild roster, he was one of their most important players down the stretch and in the postseason (this is the part where I eat my words from last year).

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #4 Jason Zucker

Jason Zucker
Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 5'11". Weight: 188 lbs
Born: January 16, 1992
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 2nd round pick (59th overall) in 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 2

Entering the 2013-14 season, Jason Zucker was one of many young kids battling to make the Wild roster out of training camp. He struggled in camp, watched guys like Granlund/Coyle/Niederreiter thrive, then got injured to make matters worse. He was sent to Iowa to begin his season.

Will Darcy Kuemper Defect To The KHL?

Yesterday, Bob McKenzie of TSN reported that Darcy Kuemper could be looking at KHL options if he and the Wild can't come to agree on a deal in the near future.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #5 Alex Tuch

Alex Tuch
Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 6'4". Weight: 213 lbs.
Born: May 10, 1996
2013-14 Team: USA National Under-18 Team (USHL)
Acquired: 1st round pick (18th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: NR

In June's draft, Minnesota selected six foot, four inch forward Alex Tuch from the United States Development team. Tuch was projected to go by the middle of the first round, but fell to the Wild at #18. The Wild wasted no time in selecting the soon to be Boston College right wing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #6 Gustav Olofsson

Gustav Olofsson
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'4". Weight: 191 lbs
Born: December 1, 1994
2013-14 Team: Colorado College (NCHC), Iowa Wild (AHL)
Acquired: 2nd round pick (46th overall) in 2013 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 10

When the Wild drafted Gustav Olofsson, he was relatively unknown among Wild fans. But after a season with Colorado College and the Iowa Wild, he is now very well known.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #7 Christian Folin

Christian Folin
Shoots: Right
Height: 6'3". Weight: 215 lbs
Born: February 9, 1991
2013-14 Team: UMass-Lowell (Hockey East), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: Signed a two year contract on March 31, 2014
Previous Rank: NR

At the end of March, the Wild signed highly sought after college defenseman Christian Folin (pronounced Foe-lin) to a two year contract. The Wild edged out the likes of Philadelphia and Boston to land the UMass-Lowell defenseman. However after signing Folin, he only played in just one game for Minnesota to finish out the season.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #8 Mario Lucia

Mario Lucia
Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'3". Weight: 195 lbs.
Born: August 25, 1993
2013-14 Team: Notre Dame (Hockey East)
Acquired: 2nd round pick (60th overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 9

It doesn't seem that long ago when the Wild were drafting Mario Lucia out of Wayzata High School. But after a season playing in British Columbia and two seasons with Notre Dame, one has to wonder if this will be Lucia's final season before making the jump to the AHL..

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #9 Michael Keranen

Michael Keranen
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'1". Weight: 191 lbs.
Born: January 4, 1990
2013-14 Team: Ilves Tampere (SM-liiga)
Acquired: Signed a one year, two-way contract on June 5, 2014
Previous Rank: NR

On June 5th, the Wild signed Finnish forward Michael Keranen to a one year two-way contract for the 2014-15 season. Keranen has spent the previous four seasons (and one game of a fifth season) playing for Ilves Tampere in the Finnish Elite League (SM-liiga).

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: #10 Raphael Bussieres

Raphael Bussieres
Left Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'2". Weight: 202 lbs.
Born: November 5, 1993
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL)
Acquired: 2nd round pick (46th overall) in 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: 7

After a rough first season in the AHL, Raphael Bussieres should be a player to watch in Iowa this season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Top 10 Prospects: The Honorable Mentions

Johan Gustafsson
Position: Goaltender. Catches: Left.
Height: 6'2". Weight: 199 lbs.
Born: February 28, 1992
2013-14 Team: Iowa Wild (AHL), Minnesota Wild (NHL)
Acquired: 6th round pick (159th overall) in 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Previous Rank: Honorable Mention

After posting outstanding numbers in his final two seasons in the Swedish Elite League, Gustafsson made his way over to North America to play in Iowa for the 2013-14 season. Gustafsson started the season behind Darcy Kuemper, but when Kuemper was called up to Minnesota Gustafsson became the number one starter for Iowa.