Times are Wild in Minnesota

By Mike Wolf
On Saturday the Wild will begin their second season, with the promise of having some youth in the line-up and having more offensive power to go along with their strong defense. Having the worst offense last year, the Wild needed to make some changes, and they did. They traded for Sergei Zholtok and signed Andrew Brunette. These upgrades alone will not be enough, so the Wild are counting on rookies to make the team. These potential rookies include Pascal Dupuis, Kyle Wanvig, Nick Schultz, Tony Virta and Travis Roche. Of these players, Dupuis and Nick Shultz have stood out with Travis Roche not far behind. As of today Dupuis has made the team with his scoring ability and 2-way play and Nick Schultz, a 2nd round draft pick in 2000, should make the team with his strong play. However the Wild have too many defensemen in camp and there are some concerns on where Schultz should play. He is too good for juniors but maybe not ready for a whole season in the NHL at 19 years of age. Travis Roche is another young defenseman that should make the team with his steady play, but I think he will be sent to the minors because he can be sent to the minors, he will not be a victim of numbers.

With Andy Sutton moving to forward, that leaves Sekeras, Kuba, Mitchell, Benysek, Marshell and Bombadir as the Wild’s top 6 defensemen, with Brad Brown, Chris Joseph, Travis Roche, and Nick Schultz fighting for the 7th stop and 8th spot. Chris Joseph should go. He brings nothing to the Wild that they don’t already have and is old. He does not help the future. Travis Roche can be sent down to develop more and that leaves the Wild with 8 d-men. The Wild’s depth chart should look like this by the end of the day.


As for forwards, rookie Pascal Dupuis has made the team, Tony Virta is on the bubble, and Kyle Wanvig will be sent to the minors. Wanvig is just not ready for full time duty in the NHL. He needs to learn how to work hard every shift, and he needs to learn how to dominate the game, but what he has shown so far is that he will be a player in this league. With all the injury’s to the Wild’s forwards, he could start out with the team. Tony Virta should make the team because he is an offensive player but his and Stacy Roests chances to make the team were hurt by the waiver pickup of Sebastien Bordeleau. Pascal on the other hand has made the team, Lemaire has gone out of his way to praise his play.

With Andy Sutton moving to forward that gives the wild 3 enforcers, so look for the Wild to trade or release Matt Johnson. Slyvain Blouin could also be let go because the Wild have some tough defensemen that will fight when needed.

Forwards that most likely will not make the team are: Matt Johnson, Stacy Roast, Roman Simicek, Tony Virta, Kyle Wanvig, and Sergi Krivokrasov, it all depends on who goes on IR.