Showing posts with label Minnesota Wild. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Minnesota Wild. Show all posts

Monday, September 29, 2014

Zach Parise not a fan of the Dump and Chase



s/t to Chris Peters. Former UND All-American Zach Parise isn’t a fan of the dump and chase. I know a few UND hockey fans that will agree with Zach’s opinion. This has been a topic of much debate on Sioux Sports.


Me personally, I know why you see the dump and chase in college hockey. I have seen UND run it from time-to-time. College hockey teams tend to lineup at the blue line and it’s tougher to just skate across the blue line. If they refs aren't calling the obstruction closely, and they're letting the players "play the game", sometimes teams will have no choice but to dump and chase the puck in to the offensive zone.   It is what it is. The NHL is a much different game than college hockey, and I don't see the dump and chase going away anytime soon.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune -- “I read a study this summer that showed shots generated off carrying the puck in as opposed to dumping it in, and it's like 4-to-1. It's not even close,” said Parise, who is set to make his preseason debut with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville against the Penguins on Thursday night. “I just found it so interesting because everyone's like, ‘Forecheck, forecheck, forecheck.'
Personally, I am not a big fan of the advanced stats either. In a nut shell, the stat that matters the most is wins and losses. Also, goals and assists are what drive a hockey player's salary. Ugly wins count just as much in the standings as pretty blow out wins.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Does Former Gopher Goon Stu Bickel have a Chance of Making the Wild



If former Minnesota Gopher Goon Stu Bickel is going to make the Minnesota Wild out of training camp, it’s going to be as a fourth line punching bag.  You're probably wondering why I say punching bag? Bickel isn't a very good fighter, and he's definitely not a feared heavy weight. But he would fill a roll that the Wild need.
Chad Graff, Pioneer Press -- Bickel, who has played about one-third of his games in the NHL at forward, is hoping to show the kind of versatility that could earn him a spot on the roster.

Bickel, a 27-year-old former Gopher from Chanhassen, continues to climb up the depth chart in training camp. If he shows he can play forward Thursday night, it'll be another step in making the Wild out of camp.

"The more versatile a player is, the more opportunity is there for him," coach Mike Yeo said.

Bickel got into two fights during the Wild's 2-1 exhibition loss in Winnipeg on Monday, and he would add physicality and grit that the Wild lack without him.

He played 67 games with the New York Rangers in 2011-12 and 2012-13 -- and got into 28 fights.
Bickel has played in 67 NHL games and has scored an paltry (0g-9a—9pts), but has racked up an impressive 157 minutes in penalties. If Bickel makes the Wild out of training camp, it will not be for his offensive skills, which he obviously lacks.

If Wild decide that Bickel is going to be their designated punching bag, then he has a chance to play a few games with the Wild this season. Meh. Currently, the Minnesota Wild have no "real" punching bag/goon. So far in the preseason, the Wild have been in three fights. Bickel has been in two of those fights, Wild forward Jason Zucker was fought Simon Despres and didn’t fare so well. That being said, Zucker isn’t a pugilist and his job is to generate offense and score goals.

Pioneer Press: Wild's Justin Fontaine: Small-town boy starting to make big impact

Speaking of former college hockey players. Former UMD Bulldog Justin Fontaine is in camp with a new contract trying to cement a roster spot with the Minnesota Wild. Fontaine is on a two-way contract so he could end up playing for the Iowa Wild to start the season.
Chad Graff, Pioneer Press -- Justin Fontaine insists this Wild training camp is no different from last year's.

The two-year, one-way contract he signed this summer doesn't change his mind-set from a year ago when he was in the final year of his contract and fighting just to keep his job.

It's impossible to ignore how different things are for him, though.

For the first time in his career, he has job security in the NHL.

Rather than auditioning for a roster spot, Fontaine was tapped to play Thursday night's exhibition game against the Penguins alongside skilled forwards Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu, his chance to show he's ready for a bigger role on the team.

"I think there's a different feeling for him," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "There's no question he's coming in with the sense that he belongs here, the comfort level that he doesn't have to worry about whether one mistake might be the difference between him going home or staying."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harding Suspended Kuemper Signed

Well as I reported earlier, Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding suffered a foot injury that would sideline him indefinitely. The Minnesota Wild have now suspended Harding for the cause of his injury being non hockey related. Other reports had said he broke his foot because of kicking a wall.

However, any goalie question marks that the team has had just hours ago about who was going to be their number one going into home opener have finally been solved. It was announced about an hour ago that Darcy Kuemper has been signed to a two year, one way contract, averaging around $1.25 million a season.

With this signing, the Wild are now able to focus, without any of the drama of who is going to be the number one goalie and, in my mind, finally solidified the position for the season, baring injury of course. All of the pieces are now in place for a very strong season, and a possible Stanley Cup run come April and May.

More Goalie Drama with Harding Injury



Well as if the one question mark couldn't get any worse for the Minnesota Wild, Josh Harding is out indefinitely with a foot injury. Harding, the likely Wild starter, allegedly broke his foot yesterday after kicking a wall.

Now we have the problem with who fills his shoes? Kuemper is unsigned and Backstrom is only useful in a back-up role. There are a few options out there as of right now. Thomas Vokoun is healthy and ready to play and don't forget about Martin Brodeur either. Then there is the goalie who said he wanted to resign with the Wild, Ilya Bryzgalov.

It was announced earlier that Ilya Bryzgalov has been offered a Pro Tryout Contract and invited to Minnesota Wild Training Camp. This seems like the most likely option for filling the place in the absence of Harding, especially with not being able to reach an agreement with Darcy Kuemper. Bryzgalov will be suiting up for the Wild starting this Friday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Early Minnesota Wild Line Combinations

On my way home from classes this morning, I was listening to Paul Allen and Michael Russo on the Nine to Noon show on KFAN for some preseason Minnesota Wild talk. Right now it looks as if Parise is playing with Granlund and Pominville, which puts Vanek down with Koivu and Coyle.

Now I know that many of us Wild rubes wanted to see Vanek with Pommer and Granny, however, according to an interview Russo did with Coach Yeo yesterday, he said that Parise playing with Granlund and Pommer was the lethal combination at practice thus far.

Russo also believes that come opening night, you will see Jared Spurgeon playing along side of Ryan Suter due to his outstanding play at the end of last season and in the playoffs. I couldn't agree more, however he has a lot of proven chemistry with Marco Scandella already, so why screw that up when it already is a pretty good combination?

                                                                                   That being said, I am not too sure if Jonas Brodin
is worthy of top line defense minutes right now. After his facial injury last season, his play really fell off and was not the dynamic defenseman pre injury. I think that his playing style should be well complementary of Scandella so I see no problem if these two start out the season together, giving Spurgeon the top line minutes he has earned.

Then you also have to address the third defensive pairing. Keith Ballard was plagued with injury for much of last season, so that was a disappointment for all you Gopher fans who follow the Wild as well. Ballard is almost a shoe in right away to be playing as a defender on that third pair, but who plays with him? As of right now, it looks as if Christian Folin will be along side him to open the 2014-2015 season, but I still say don't count out the hard hitting youngster, Matt Dumba. In his games with the Wild last season, before going back to juniors, Dumba proved that he had what it took to be a solid NHL defenseman, who holds a legit scoring threat on the blue line. However, in the one game Folin was able to suit up for Minnesota last season, he recorded an assist, his first NHL point, and was a plus three against the always tough St. Louis Blues. It will be interesting to see how the third defensive pairing plays out. Could Ballard even be the odd man out? I doubt it right now, but it is an 82 game season so lets see if he stays healthy, or is a little more present on the blue line when he is playing.

Transitioning back to the forwards, specifically lines three and four, you know almost for certain that Haula will be centering Nino on that line, but who will be the winger on the other side? Will it be Matt Cooke, or Jason Zucker? With Zucker being out most of last season with injury, he is a great unknown as to how he is going to preform this season, however, when he is healthy, he has shown us that he is deserving to play with the big club no matter what. I think you start Zucker on that third line with Haula and Nino and put Cooke down with Brodziak and Justin Fontaine. The Cooke-Brodziak-Fontaine was a line that had shown some chemistry last season, and sure, why not have a potential 20 plus goal scorer on the fourth line with Fontaine?

With training camp starting this Friday, it should be interesting to see how the lines pan out come October 9th when the Colorado Avalanche roll into town.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Nino Niederreiter signed to a Three-Year Contract

And then there was one RFA left to sign. This is good news for the Minnesota Wild. The Wild didn't want to go into training camp with Nino Niederreiter unsigned. Nino's deal is worth 8 million dollars over 3 years. So the Wild have him signed through the 2016-17 season. That leaves Darcy Kuemper as the only unsigned restricted free agent.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Minnesota Wild Announce New ECHL Affiliate

There has been a lot of hockey news in the past day or so, and more coming from the Minnesota Wild camp today as well, and no it isn't anything about the Darcy Kuemper situation. The Wild have announced an affiliation with the ECHL's Alaska Aces.

The Aces have been very successful as a franchise in the past few seasons, winning three Kelly Cup Championships in the past nine seasons, including this past season.

Included in the agreement, according to wild.com, the Aces will serve as a resource for developmental efforts for both Iowa (AHL) and Minnesota.

UND fans may take notice at a familiar face on the Aces roster, and now in the Minnesota Wild system, Evan Trupp. Trupp played four years at UND and was a member of the Aces for their championship winning team last season.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Kuemper and Wild at Impasse



I am hoping this is the beginning of the end for the stalled contract talks. The Minnesota Wild can't afford to let Darcy Kuemper get away. Incidentally,  Kuemper could have filed for arbitration in July but didn't. 
Michael Russo, Star Tribune -- With training camp set to open next week, unsigned Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper is threatening to sign in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League if the Wild doesn’t sign him to a one-year, one-way contract, his agent said Monday.

“Basically, Chuck and I are stuck,” agent Jeff Helperl said of negotiations with Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. Fletcher did not comment on the negotiations.

Helperl wants a one-year deal where Kuemper would be paid his NHL salary whether he plays in Minnesota or with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Des Moines. The Wild is offering a two-year deal where in the first year Kuemper would make a significantly lesser salary during the time he plays in Iowa.

“It comes down to Darcy has to play somewhere this year,” Helperl said of the KHL option. “Minnesota, they’re stuck on giving Darcy a two-way deal and I think Darcy deserves more. … By no means are we shooting for the moon at all. I just want to get a one-way contract and get Darcy playing more games, and wherever that’s going to be, it’s going to be.”

Helperl had a chance to file for arbitration July 5 but did not. That would have resulted in a neutral arbitrator awarding Kuemper, 24, a contract if one couldn’t be agreed upon prior.
If the past is any indication of the future, Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding have had their share of health issues and neither goalie has been able to play a full season that last two season. You have to figure that Kuemper is going to be up with the big club sooner rather than later.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Minnesota Wild: RFA Darcy Kuemper Looking at KHL Options



So, Minnesota Wild RFA goalie Darcy Kuemper is throwing a hissy fit. If I don't get my way, I am going to go to the KHL. Really, there's no options for Kuemper, he can sign with the Wild. I don't see another NHL team giving him an offer sheet. Time to sign a contract.
TSN.CA -- Stuck in a crowded goaltending situation, Minnesota Wild restricted free-agent goaltender Darcy Kuemper could move overseas for his next contract if he isn't able to secure what he is looking for in the NHL.

TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Wild would like to re-sign the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native to a two-way contract, but coming off a strong playoff performance, Kuemper would prefer a one-way deal.

The Wild already have both Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding locked up heading into the season.

The 24-year-old Kuemper is looking at his options in the KHL, but would want a deal with an out clause in case he is able to find an NHL deal to his liking.
I said this last week on the Hockey Wilderness.

Make no mistake about it, Kuemper is a good young NHL goalie, and he has tremendous upside. However, I don't think he has much room to command a big salary increase. I also think he has to surpass last season numbers to get a big bump in his pay check.

Kuemper has played in 32 NHL games and has a (13-10-4, 2.37 GAA and a .915 SV%). Those are decent numbers, but they don't command a big salary increase, rather a modest bump.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Prospects Tournament Roster


Here's the roster for the Traverse City Prospects Tourney. You can see that the Wild have a few ex-college hockey players on the roster.
Forwards

82 Olivier Archambault 6-0 190 Left 2/16/93 Le Gardeur, Quebec Quebec QMJHL 38 19 27 46 37 INVITEE

80 Jessey Astles 6-2 205 Left 6/4/93 Coquitlam, British Columbia Tri-City WHL 50 11 9 20 67 INVITEE

62 Brady Brassart 6-2 196 Right 6/15/93 Vernon, British Columbia Calgary WHL 70 35 50 85 94 FA/14

49 Raphael Bussieres 6-1 198 Left 11/5/93 Longueuil, Quebec Iowa AHL 61 5 14 19 51 EN/12

75 Reid Duke 6-0 189 Right 1/28/96 Calgary, Alberta Lethbridge WHL 62 15 25 40 91 EN/14

53 Tyler Graovac 6-4 205 Left 4/27/93 Brampton, Ontario Iowa AHL 64 13 12 25 29 EN/11

63 Kurtis Gabriel 6-4 214 Right 4/20/93 New Market, Ontario Owen Sound OHL 60 16 35 51 99 EN/13

47 Reid Gardiner 5-11 185 Right 1/19/96 Humboldt, Saskatchewan Prince Albert WHL 70 22 22 44 39 INVITEE

57 Ryan Graham 6-2 205 Left 5/6/96 Calgary, Alberta Saskatoon WHL 70 15 8 23 37 INVITEE

81 Pavel Jenys 6-2 198 Left 4/2/96 Brno, Czech Republic Brno Czech 29 2 0 2 4 EN/14

76 Chase Lang 6-1 182 Right 9/13/96 Nanaimo, British Columbia Calgary WHL 68 10 15 25 52 EN/14

59 Zack Mitchell 6-0 184 Right 1/7/93 Caledon, Ontario Guelph OHL 67 31 52 83 40 FA/14

67 Andrew Ryan 6-3 202 Left 1/15/94 St. John’s Newfoundland Halifax QMJHL 56 27 28 55 52 INVITEE

71 Ryan Walters 6-0 190 Left 7/30/91 Rosemount, Minnesota Nebraska-Omaha NCHC 34 6 24 30 16 INVITEE

 

Defense

55 Matt Dumba 6-0 183 Right 7/25/94 Regina, Saskatchewan Minnesota NHL 13 1 1 2 2 EN/12

Portland WHL 26 8 16 24 37

73 Tanner Faith 6-3 211 Right 10/5/95 Terrace, British Columbia Kootenay WHL 10 0 1 1 9 EN/14

5 Christian Folin 6-3 210 Right 2/9/91 Gothenburg, Sweden UMass-Lowell HE 41 6 14 20 31 FA/14

34 Guillaume Gelinas 5-10 185 Left 6/14/93 Quebec City, Quebec Val d’Or QMJHL 67 23 69 92 81 FA/14

68 Alex Gudbranson 6-2 204 Right 9/3/94 Orleans, Ontario Sault Ste. Marie OHL 66 7 8 15 76 INVITEE

78 Dylan Labbe 6-2 194 Left 1/19/95 St. George, Quebec Shawinigan QMJHL 63 9 18 27 20 EN/13

23 Gustav Olofsson 6-4 191 Left 12/1/94 Boras, Sweden Colorado College NCHC 30 4 4 8 20 EN/13

79 Hunter Warner 6-2 202 Right 9/21/95 Eden Prairie, Minnesota Waterloo/Fargo USHL 50 2 10 12 127 INVITEE

 

Goalies

50 Alexandre Belanger 6-1 184 Left 8/19/95 Sherbrooke, Quebec Rouyn-Noranda QMJHL 52 28-18-3 1 3.23 .881 EN/13

31 Johan Gustafsson 6-2 202 Left 2/28/92 Koping, Sweden Iowa AHL 40 12-20-4 1 2.98 .903 EN/10

70 Brandon Whitney 6-5 208 Right 5/11/94 Kentville, Nova Scotia Victoriaville QMJHL 41 13-18-7 4 3.25 .906 INVITEE

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mike Yeo: Wild starting job in goal wide open



As we make our way towards the NHL season there's more hockey news starting to emerge. The Wild are going to have a stable of goalies this season. According to Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo, the position is wide open.
NHL Insider -- The Minnesota Wild will enter training camp next month with three goaltenders, Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper, competing for the starting job. Wild coach Mike Yeo said each will have a chance to win the No. 1 job.

"I have to say we're kind of open right now, to be honest with you," Yeo told Michael Russo of the Star Tribune on Wednesday during an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. "We're going to have some scrimmages … but we're going to have to pretty quickly determine who we want to give a greater workload to after that. That's going to be a good challenge."
Obviously, they Wild are going to  need to sign Darcy Kuemper who remains an unsigned restricted free agent. There's also many questions about Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding's health. Neither has been able to play a full season the last two years.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Darcy Kuemper's new goalie mask



Here's the new goalie mask that Minnesota Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper will wear for the 2014-15 season.  Now, let's hope the Wild can get the young goalie locked into a new contract.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Former Wild Forward Devin Setoguchi signed by the Calgary Flames

Former Minnesota Wild forward Devin Setoguchi has been signed by the Calgary Flames. It would appear that the Flames got a bargain signing Setoguchi for $750,000. One could make the argument, that his is a smart contract, especially if he recovers from the miserable season that he had last season and scores 20 goals. That would be a big win for the Flames.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Questons at the goaltending position



The Minnesota Wild's goaltending situation has been a subject of discussion.
John Kreiser - NHL.com -- Who's the goalie? -- Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Darcy Kuemper, Ilya Bryzgalov and John Curry (who won his lone late-season start) all had at least one victory in a season of tumult for Minnesota goaltenders . Harding was 18-7-3 with an NHL-best 1.65 goals-against average, but he didn't play after Dec. 31 because of the effects of his battle with multiple sclerosis. Backstrom struggled all season and played a total of 22:25 after Jan. 11 before season-ending abdominal surgery. Minor-league call-up Kuemper (12-8-4, 2.43 GAA) and Bryzgalov (7-1-3, 2.12 GAA), acquired in a trade on March 4, got the Wild to the playoffs.

The question now is who fits where this season. Fletcher and coach Mike Yeo said they are content to go into training camp without a designated starter and see what happens in a competition between Backstrom, Harding and Kuemper (Bryzgalov remains a free agent).

"We have three guys who are quality goaltenders, three guys who at points in the season have been our starting goaltender and played very good hockey," Yeo told NHL.com. "We're expecting some good competition in camp."
From ESPN's Katie Strang's Chat on ESPN...
Michael (Minnesota)

If you were Chuck Fletcher, what would you do with your goalie situation? Are you tempted to sign Brodeur?

Katie Strang (1:05 PM)

If I were Chuck Fletcher I'd be extremely concerned about my goaltending situation. I know he said publicly that there will be training camp competition with Harding, Backstrom and Kuemper but I wouldn't feel too confident with that. That's why, since the trade deadline, many assumed Brodeur would be a great fit there. His sons also play at famed hockey prep school Shattuck St. Mary's in Fairbault, MN. Makes a lot of sense. But I think Brodeur is holding out for potentially an injury situation that opens a spot up.
I think if there’s one question going into the 2014-15 season, it’s the Minnesota Wild’s goaltending situation. Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding’s health issues are well documented. Darcy Kuemper has yet to sign a contract. I am not so sure that the Wild want to add Martin Brodeur to the mix.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Minnesota Wild All Time Greatest Player



Well we all heard Eric's opinion on who the greatest player in franchise history for the Minnesota Wild is, Marian Gaborik, and that will probably be a lot of other peoples choices because of how dynamic of a goal scorer he is.

However, one has to argue for Mikko Koivu. The captain has been with the team for 601 games played, plus three playoff runs.  The captain is much deserving of this honor along with his 452 points and a +26 rating in his career, I'd say this honor goes to Mikko Koivu.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Minnesota Wild: Who's the Greatest Player in Franchise History?


That is a good question. In my opinion, it would have to probably be former Wild Marián Gáborík. Thoughts? Gabby played for the Wild for eight seasons. The Wild have been a franchise from 2000-present.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wild still trying to re-sign Kuemper



The Minnesota Wild are having a tough time getting their top goalie prospect signed. Eventually, he's going to have to sing, because he's a restricted free agent. I don't think the Wild want this to drag out  much longer.
Michael Russo, Star Tribune --- A path toward a possible arbitration date would have at least guaranteed a settlement on a one- or two-year contract and would have assured that Kuemper would be signed by the commencement of camp Sept. 18. Now, a holdout — or at least the threat of one — is a possibility.

“Darcy has great potential and played very well in stretches for us [last] season, but at the end of the day I think he’s played around 30 games in the NHL,” Fletcher said. “Usually this isn’t the time to fight for the big contract. We feel Darcy right now is trying to establish himself in the league, and once he does that it’ll be a little simpler to come up with terms.

“Our focus right now is on getting good deals with both [Kuemper and Niederreiter]. If we can get the right deal for the player and for the team, then it’ll give us a chance to be competitive. If we spend too much money on players before they’re ready to get the money they feel they deserve, it impacts a lot of other things down the road. If we can get a deal done tomorrow, great. If it takes even into training camp, it’s really not a big deal. We’ve got great depth, we got lots of players. We’re going to have to do what’s right financially to keep this thing going forward.”

Kuemper, 24, went 12-8-4 last season with a 2.43 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He came to the Wild’s rescue when goalies Niklas Backstrom (abdominal injury) and Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) were sidelined. Kuemper’s camp, which battled the Wild three years ago before Kuemper signed his entry-level contract, appears to feel it has leverage because the Wild again plans to rely on Backstrom and Harding to be healthy next season.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

(Video) Thomas Vanek All Goals From The 2013-14 Season & Playoffs



In what has been one of the slowest offseason that I can remember, time to start moving forward. Here's a video for Wild fans to peruse. I think the Minnesota Wild will be a lot better with Thomas Vanek in their top-six.