Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

Also find Russo on Facebook.

Email Michael to talk about hockey.

Posts about Vikings draft

Wild quick hits; Free prospect scrimmage Thursday night at the X

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: July 11, 2012 - 3:09 PM

The Wild prospects hit the ice for a second consecutive day -- this time down at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights -- before sessions return to the X tomorrow morning.

Also, remember, tomorrow night (Thursday) at 7, the prospects will be scrimmaging at the X. It's free and open to the public. The first 1,000 fans get a Ryan Suter T-shirt. The Hockey Lodge store will be open, and, I'll go out on a limb and say, if you want to buy season-tickets, that can be accomplished, too. Gate 1 opens to get into the arena for the scrimmage at 6:30 p.m.

On Sunday at 11 a.m., there will be another scrimmage. The first 1,000 fans get a Zach Parise T-shirt.

Also, Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., I'll be filling in for Dan Barreiro on KFAN (100.3-FM). Lots of hockey talk and guests, but we'll also be talking Twins, Adrian Peterson, world peace, politics, the heat wave. (OK, not the latter three).

Please tune in, call, email.

Today, lots of skill drills, plus work with powerskating instructor Barry Karn, whom I wrote about a few weeks back in my Brady Skjei feature before the draft. Karn is the uncle of Skjei, the incoming Gopher and now-New York Rangers draft pick.

Andy Ness has also been around helping with skating and stick handling, while the Houston coaches -- John Torchetti, Mike Van Ryn and Sebastien Laplante -- and Orlando coach Drake Berehowsky have been running the practices with coach Mike Yeo, assistants Rick Wilson, Darryl Sydor and Darby Hendrickson and the brass -- Chuck Fletcher, Brent Flahr, Jim Mill, Brad Bombardir and Shep Harder -- watching from the cheap seats.

Kent Youngblood will be writing for Thursday's paper, myself for Friday's. I'll also blog after Thursday's scrimmage and Kent will blog after Sunday's.

After Thursday, however, I will be on vacation for the rest of the month, so Kent and others will have the keys to my blog.

I'll re-post the depth chart to give you a talker before I get out of dodge this weekend.

Some quick hits:

-- Jonas Brodin can skate backwards better than most people can walk forwards. The kid is smooth.

-- Granlund looks awesome.

-- I've received some questions in the past few days why Marco Scandella has to come to development camp and, say, Jared Spurgeon doesn't. I talked to Yeo about that, and the reasons are as I suspected:

1. Games played. Spurgeon has played 123 NHL games, 40 more than Scandella; 2. This is a big year for Scandella and the Wild wants him to take another step in his growth; 3. Scandella is the top dog, the leader in camp, the guy to give the kids an example of how to work on and off the ice, to keep things loose, etc.

Also, and Yeo didn't say this, but remember, Spurgeon is coming off a season-ending concussion, although the Wild has said he was cleared soon after the season.

-- Mario Lucia, a second-round pick in 2011, isn't at camp because he is currently in classes at Notre Dame. However, the Wild said there was a chance he may come in for some of the weekend activities. That'll be up to Lucia though. Because he's a college kid, the Wild can't pick up any of the costs due to college eligibility rules. That's why Erik Haula wasn't at a camp. Would have cost the kid a fortune flying in from Finland. He is at camp this year though.

-- Restricted free agents Nick Palmieri, Jarod Palmer, Carson McMillan and David McIntyre are the only players still unsigned. When they do, that'll give the Wild 49 players under contract. You can only have 50. The Wild says this isn't a problem, but I still suspect at some point there could be a trade to give a little more breathing room. Typically you'd want to have a few open spots in case you need to make a trade or grab somebody off waivers in-season.

Again though, there's no rush. There's a lot of time before camp is (scheduled) to start Sept. 21, and as long as you have one opening, it's no big deal, the Wild has said.

-- I've gotten some questions asking if Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are permanent alternate captains or if coach Mike Yeo will continue to rotate the A's. They are permanent, meaning get used to seeing letters on the chests of Mikko Koivu (C), Parise and Suter for a long, long time. Parise and Suter have 13-year deals, and Koivu has six years left on his pact. My opinion: Too much is made of letters on chests. Trust me, it's not like Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley won't be leaders on this team anymore just because they don't have A's over their hearts. Along with Tom Gilbert, Heatley and Cullen were a big part of the Wild's recruitment for Parise and Suter. I promise, they're not bothered by the disappearing A.

-- Got some questions asking if the 2,000+ season tickets sold by the Wild are full and partial combined. They are full and partial plan "equivalents" (to full season-tickets).

-- Got some questions as to the practice facility hints Craig Leipold has dropped lately. During the pitches to Parise and Suter, both agents called up and asked if the Wild had a practice facility. That's important to a lot of players. All this did was reignite Leipold's long-time pursuit to build a facility and public skating complex at Seven Corners in St. Paul. The Wild has long had renderings and cost estimates, but you may remember, in 2009, Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a loan forgiveness program that would have freed $32 million for the project. Now, Leipold hopes to get this going again.

The Wild practices the majority of the time at the X, but when there's concerts, it has dress-and-drives to St. Thomas. As Leipold even said on Fox Sports North the other day, that may work in juniors, but NHLers hate it. Not so bad going. The ride back when they're in their smelly, wet equipment?

Yuck. That's a big reason why coach Todd Richards, and last year Mike Yeo, conveniently has optional practices whenever St. Thomas is on the agenda.

-- Tomorrow night in Toronto, new Wild center Zenon Konopka will be taking part in the Smashfest! Charity Ping-Pong Challenge at Steam Whistle Brewery. Others taking part? Dominic Moore, Steven Stamkos, Vincent Lecavalier, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Brett Connolly, Logan Couture, Teddy Purcell, Joe Reekie, Mathieu Schneider, Ryan Shannon, Daniel Winnik, Rob Zamuner, Joel Ward, Wojtek Wolski, Steve Downie and Kevin Weekes.

Proceeds from the event will be directed to The Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center and Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute.

 

-- Remember, I'll be hosting for Barreiro on KFAN on Friday from 3-6:30 p.m., so please tune in and call in. Lining up some great guests, and I'll fill you in on them on my blog Thursday after the scrimmages.

Latest on Parise, Suter, Schultz; Minnesota Wild Depth Chart

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: June 29, 2012 - 3:16 PM

UPDATED WITH JUSTIN SCHULTZ STUFF:

I chatted briefly with Zach Parise this afternoon. He said his agents are still talking to New Jersey and it's not a guarantee yet he'll become a free agent at noon ET Sunday (11 a.m. CT).

However, if that happens, he said there's no logistics yet on how teams can talk to him beginning Sunday, although it's "possible" he will go to his agents' Mississauga offices starting Sunday. Last year, some teams met with Brad Richards there face-to-face, although the Rangers -- the team that signed him -- did everything via phone.

There's a chance logistics may be firmed up later today, Parise said. I did talk to a couple teams and they said no ground rules for any specific free agent have been given out as far as they know and after hearing from Parise's agency this afternoon, they don't plan to talk to any team but New Jersey until noon ET Sunday.

I would think at some point after noon ET Sunday, if Parise is going to become a free agent, teams will be informed of a process if they want to get in front of him. Some teams could do that by phone, some prefer to show up in person to make pitches.

As for Ryan Suter, his agent, Neil Sheehy, will be in International Falls fielding phone calls while his client is at his farm in Wisconsin. Teams won't be meeting face-to-face with Suter on July 1, although at some point Suter may meet with some teams. It sounds like a Suter decision could take a few days or longer.

Also, I have confirmed TSN Bob McKenzie's tweet last night that the Wild is on Justin Schultz's short list and DO have a face-to-face meeting scheduled with the University of Wisconsin free agent defenseman, although I don't know when. Schultz can sign with a team starting Sunday. Edmonton, Vancouver, Toronto, the Rangers and Ottawa are also on his short list, reportedly.

Every contract offer will be essentially the same, so it's just a matter of which team can sell Schultz best on its program, situation and opportunity. 

The Wild re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Chay Genoway to a two-year deal. Also, so far at the July 9-15 development camp, here are some invites: Drew LeBlanc -- St. Cloud State; Cody Corbett – Edmonton Oil Kings; Bobby Farnham – Brown University; Marshall Everson – Harvard.

I did a live chat today on startribune.com and you can see the replay  (click this link).

As I often do after the draft and prior to free agency, I post what I consider to be the Wild’s depth chart heading into the meat of the offseason. This very much WILL be altered depending on free-agent signings and trades this summer, so do not panic.

Unlike most years, it’s also a complete shot in the dark because we don’t know what prospects will blow the doors open during training camp. While we can assume Mikael Granlund is a lock to make the team as long as he doesn’t fall down 50 times and arrive in September with my physique, we don’t know yet about others.

For instance, Johan Larsson and Brett Bulmer could be competing for a third- or fourth-line spot. Bulmer played nine games last season in the NHL and the coaches know him and love his game; Larsson has played pro in Sweden, captained Sweden to gold at the world juniors, is a winger that is basically a faceoff specialist and is known and respected by management.

If the Wild doesn’t replace Guillaume Latendresse’s spot this summer, could Charlie Coyle be ready to immediately step in? He can play wing (left side) or center. What about Jason Zucker or Nick Palmieri or Stephane Veilleux?

Same thing with the blue line. Justin Falk and Nate Prosser will be on one-way deals, but does that mean their jobs are locks if the Wild signs or trades for defensemen this summer or a Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba impress in training camp?

This is also subject to change because to start training camp, the Wild will try Granlund at second-line center. That’s his natural position and the Wild is intrigued by what he may look like flying up the center of the ice with speed and distributing the puck. If he plays center, Matt Cullen will start off as a wing. But if Granlund can’t adjust right away to center, he could wind up on Mikko Koivu’s wing and Cullen returns to center.

So for the first time in my soon-to-be eight training camps covering the Wild, the exhibition games and scrimmages could really determine roster spots for many. So without further ado, here is the depth chart:

FORWARDS

Left wing-Center-Right wing

First line: Devin Setoguchi-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley
Second line: Matt Cullen-Mikael Granlund-Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Third line: XXXXXX-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck
Fourth line: Darroll Powe-XXXXXX-XXXXXX
Extras: Matt Kassian-XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Kassian, Stephane Veilleux, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips, Nick Palmieri, Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, David McIntyre, Carson McMillan, Kris Foucault, Justin Fontaine, Joel Broda
Unrestricted free agents: Guillaume Latendresse, Nick Johnson, Erik Christensen; Jed Ortmeyer; Warren Peters
Minor-league restricted free agents: McIntyre, Palmieri, Palmer, McMillan
Minor-league unrestricted free agents: Jon DiSalvatore, Jeff Taffe

DEFENSEMEN

Left-Right

First pair: Marco Scandella-Tom Gilbert
Second pair: Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon
Third pair: Justin Falk-Nate Prosser
Extra: XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Falk, Prosser, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Steven Kampfer, Tyler Cuma, Chay Genoway, Drew Bagnall, Kyle Medvec, Josh Caron, Colton Jobke
Unrestricted free agents:  Kurtis Foster, Mike Lundin
Restricted free agents: Falk
Minor-league unrestricted free agents: Jeff Penner, Kris Fredheim

GOALTENDERS

No. 1: Niklas Backstrom
No. 2: Josh Harding

In the wings: Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper

Note: XXXXXX signifies open spot.

Latendresse will test free agency; Crosby's deal affects Parise

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: June 28, 2012 - 12:42 PM

After two injury plagued seasons in a row, Guillaume Latendresse's Wild career has come to an end. He will test free agency Sunday, the 25-year-old left wing said this morning. GM Chuck Fletcher says Latendresse advised him yesterday.

I talked to Latendresse earlier this morning and he said that he has decided he would like to be closer to his 4-year-old son, Hayden, who lives with his mother in Montreal.

"I’ve been here with my son in Montreal for two months. He’s four years old now," Latendresse said. "It’s pretty hard for me during the wintertime, so I think it would be best if I can try and land somewhere that would be closer to him."

The Wild offered Latendresse a one-year contract with performance bonuses, sources say. The bonuses are permissible under the collective bargaining agreement for players who have 400 pro games (played or missed) that spent 100 days on injured reserve in the final year of his contract.

“It’s not that I didn’t want to go back," Latendresse said. "It’s not that the contract was not good. It’s not that I didn’t like the way the team was working or anything. It’s really a personal matter more than anything. I would have loved to go back to Minnesota, but sometimes you have to make decisions for your family and for your future.

“And I think my son would be better if he could be closer to me.”

Essentially, what Latendresse is saying is he wants to sign anywhere east of Minnesota and most likely in the north part of the country or Eastern Canada.

The Canadiens drafted Latendresse. It is his hometown team. They have a new coach (Michel Therrien) and new GM (Marc Bergevin) from when the Habs traded him to Minnesota for Benoit Pouliot in Nov. 2009.

I asked Latendresse if he would like to return to Montreal. It sure sounds like that's in the back of his head.

“I don’t know," he said. "We’ll see July 1 if something happens and if they’re open to take me back. But as far as now, I don’t know. I don’t close any doors. But for sure, if they want me back, it might be something interesting. But I don’t want to say yes or no because I don’t know what’s their plans, so I keep every door open.”

Except Minnesota, that is.

It became clear during the draft that something was up with negotiations. Fletcher began to indicate that this could go until July 1, and then he gave the, "If it gets done, it gets done," line Saturday after the draft, saying, "I'm not losing sleep over it."

Didn't sound good. I also never got the impression the Wild was 100 percent sold on bringing Latendresse back. Frankly, if it wanted to, theoretically all the team had to do was extend him his $2.5 million qualifying offer Monday.

But he played 27 games out of 162 the past two seasons, playing 11 two years ago due to myriad abdominal and hip issues that began in training camp after the team made very clear he showed up out of shape.

Fletcher put the gauntlet on him last offseason, demanding to Latendresse privately and publicly that he arrive in shape. The Wild sent its strength and conditioning coach periodically to Montreal to check up on him.

Latendresse shed a lot of weight and arrived in shape before getting concussed in November. He was hit face first into the glass in Calgary on Nov. 8, then left the next game Nov. 10 early in San Jose with concussion-like symptoms. He missed the next 15 games, returned in Winnipeg on Dec. 13, scored the Wild's only goal in a 2-1 loss and was lost in the first period the next night at home against Chicago when he tried to initiate two hits on one shift.

We never saw him again. 

So while bringing Latendresse back was a risk because his absences the past two years crippled the Wild's depth, losing him is also a risk. The Wild was the lowest-scoring team in the NHL last season and this is a kid that scored 25 goals in 55 games in 2009-10. Power forwards like Latendresse don't grow on trees.

It'll be interesting to see how the Wild reacts in free agency or on the trade market. It was always going to pursue Zach Parise aggressively, but is this the type of thing that makes the Wild now look for a second-line winger, too?

Does it go after Dustin Penner, who has got a similar frame to Latendresse and who has a history in Anaheim with Wild managers Fletcher and Brent Flahr? Does it pursue Peter Mueller, 24, who also has a concussion history, but is young and skilled (22 goals as a rookie in 2007-08) and wasn't tendered a qualifying offer by Colorado?  

We will see starting Sunday.

I don't see how it makes sense for them to go after guys like Alex Semin, P.A. Parenteau or Jiri Hudler.

Why? I'll explain on my live chat on startribune.com Friday at noon.

In other news, as expected, the Sidney Crosby contract extension appears to be finalized. TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting it's worth in the $100 million range at a salary cap hit below $9 million. It cannot be signed until Sunday.

Not a shock this is coming out because now a bigtime free agent like Zach Parise knows Crosby is inked long-term in Pittsburgh and Parise knows if he signs there, he will be cemented to Crosby's wing, well, forever as long as both are healthy.

What this also means?

Parise now knows his offer from Pittsburgh will be less than the $8.whatever million (my guess will be $8.7 million again, his uniform number) Crosby's taking in annually. It also tells you that if the Wild wants to figure out a way to sway Parise from signing in Pittsburgh, it'll need to come in well north of that and then pray it's sales job, and the money, talks.

The Wild's contract offer to Parise on Sunday will be, let's just say, absolutely colossal.

I may be back later if there's more news, but again, please join my live chat here at startribune.com Friday at noon.

Wild brass on Mathew Dumba; Wild inquired about Staal

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: June 22, 2012 - 11:28 PM

UPDATED Well, I nailed the Mathew Dumba selection on KFAN this morning, mostly because I told the brass yesterday I thought they were taking Dumba and both gents seemed to have a coronary.

Just watching video of him the last week, reading about him and talking to folks about him, Dumba just seemed to me to be a terrific package of offense, shot, speed, passion and ridiculous physicality.

You just don't get that many skill-sets in one player often, and considering the Wild needs defensemen and specially one with those attributes, he just seemed to be the obvious pick.

Seems like a real good kid and definitely a confident one, somebody who wants to make the roster next season. He doesn't turn 18 til next month, mind ya.

He's heard good stuff about the Wild from Darcy Kuemper, the Wild goalie and his former Red Deer teammate. He's also pals with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the No. 1 pick in last year's draft.

“He said, ‘take it easy on me out there,’” Dumba said, laughing. “The one thing about Nooge is you’ve got to keep up with him and make sure he doesn’t embarrass you.”

His parents, Treena and Charlie, and brother, Kyle, were understandably giddy, and you can see those quotes in the paper or on www.startribune.com/wild.

The Wild often moves quickly with contracts. Remember, Jonas Brodin signed less than a month after the Wild drafted him last year, and Dumba has Don Meehan and Craig Oster as agents, whom I saw Brent Flahr meeting with the other day about Justin Falk. Knowing Flahr, he was probably also making sure it would be no problem signing any of the Newport guys at the top of the draft, including Dumba.

You can read Flahr and Chuck Fletcher quotes on Dumba below, but a couple things first:

1. The Wild didn't try to trade back when Dumba was left. That's who they wanted.

2. The Wild did try to get another first-rounder, but the price was high and other teams wanted to keep their picks, said Flahr.

3. Fletcher expects a quiet day tomorrow other than just taking their picks in Rounds 2-7 (starts at 9 a.m., NHL Network).

Lastly, Fletcher kicked tired a ton the last few days, but talking to him this afternoon, he again will not gut his prospect corps, he also is really looking at free agency. He also thinks this is a summer when a lot of trades could happen around the league in July and August, and Fletcher has shown in his Wild history that he makes summertime trades after the draft.

This afternoon, I watched Fletcher meet with Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero for about a half-hour. I know from sources that Fletcher was inquiring about Jordan Staal. But as I wrote yesterday, it was also clear only one team would be able to trade for Staal and sign him to an extension -- Carolina.

I felt, and everybody else I've talked to also felt -- Carolina could just wait a year and get him without giving up assets. But the Hurricanes pounced now and Shero got a terrific return -- Brandon Sutter, who may wind up being like Staal, a first-rounder and a prospect.

In other trades, Mike Ribeiro went from Dallas to Washington, Lubomir Visnovsky was traded from Anaheim to the Islanders, Sergei Bobrovsky was traded to Columbus for three draft picks from Philly (sign of a shrinking goalie market, my guess that Roberto Luongo wouldn't waive his no-trade to go there and that the Wild ruined the Jackets' day earlier in the week when it re-signed Josh Harding) and ex-Wild D Z Michalek was traded back to Phoenix by the Pens.

Here are Flahr and Chuck Fletcher on Dumba. 

The story on Dumba is here, and well as my draft notebook on Fletcher talking about investigating trading for the rights of free agents, a Gui Latendresse update (this could go til July 1), a Nick Johnson update, etc.

Brent Flahr on Dumba

Very excited. He’s an exciting player. He’s an offensive defenseman, he’s very physical, he’s very mobile. He plays with a lot of passion. I think our fans will be able to identify with him very well. He’s a leader, he’s been a leader on his teams, whether it’s in Red Deer or the national program. We’re obviously excited. He’s a great kid and hopefully he’s going to come in with the intention of making our team.

On his style: He doesn’t hide much. He’s an emotional kid. He comes to play every night. His team this year was decimated by injuries, and he played 35-40 minutes some nights. He was the kid we were hoping we could possibly get and things work out.

What separated him from the other D on the board: The combination of his ability to shoot the puck, generate offnse from the back end, but also his character, his passion that he plays with and the way he comes to play every night, it’s hard to find players with his dedication to the game and just the way he carries himself around the room.

On making the team: He’s a fairly strong kid the way he tested out at the combine. He knows he’s going to have to put on weight, get stronger, especially the way he plays because he likes to hit. But his mobility is probably good enough and the way he plays, he might have to simplify his game at the pro level like any young kid does, but there’s no reason he can’t come in and compete for a job.

Does his hitting translate at NHL: I think he can. You probably have to pick your spots, but I think he knows how to take that out of his game and I’m not sure that’s ever going to come out of his game or that we want that to come out of his game. That’s what makes him what he is.

Do you have to rein him in a little: I think so…He’s obviously got to tone down his play, and he knows that. On his team this year, which I think he probably had to do more than he should just to generate offense and try to win games, but that’s the type of kid he is.

When all those guys dropped, did you try to trade for another first rounder? “We made a couple calls to try to get a late first-rounder, but just the price and the interest level from other teams were wanting to pick. No luck, but we worked the phones and tried to do some things.

On difference Brodin and Dumba: They’re both very mobile. Obviously Brodin’s a very intelligent player, really gets the puck going, likes to get up ice. And this kid, the probably one difference that he does is really shoots the puck. Brodin, defensively, is exceptional, and Matt, I think, is going to have to work on it a little bit, but there’s no reason for concern, that’s for sure.

Talk to anybody about trading back: No. Not with him available.


Chuck Fletcher

Can he make the team: That’s great. I hope all these kids come to camp next year trying to make the team – Brodin and Dumba and all the forwards. We have lots of opportunity, so whoever earns it can make it. It’s a tough league to make. He’s 18 years old, but you don’t get picked this high unless you’re a top-end prospect, so we’re open-minded.

Package of offense, physicality, skating: We have a lot of veteran guys that have seen lots of games over the years, and they were all very excited about him. It’s hard. First of all, it’s hard to find skilled right-shot defenseman, and to find somebody that shoots the puck that hard, skates that well and has a physical edge, it’s a rare package. Like any young player, he’s going to have to mature and learn from things positionally, but that’s why we have an NHL coaching staff and Brad Bombardir to help him make that transition. The things he does well, you can’t teach. He’s a thoroughbred. It’s exciting. He’s skilled, he can shoot the puck, he can skate, he can hit, he plays in every situation. He probably had to play too much in Red Deer, but that’s not a bad thing. We’ll work with him to round out his game, but the things he does well, you can’t teach.

I saw you talking to Ray Shero for awhile. Can you say if you were talking to him about Jordan Staal: (smiles) I can’t. Ray and I talk lots. I don’t really want to comment [on the trade]. It’s not really my place. Nothing really should surprise anymore in the new NHL. Teams have to make lots of choices. It’s an interesting day and I think the next few weeks, we’ll see a few more interesting things as well.

With you involved?: (laughs) We’ll see. Lots of conversations. Today went kind of as expected. We hoped to get a top-end D and we were fortunate to get the one that we did. I expect tomorrow to be a pretty quiet day. We’ll probably just make the picks we have and go from there. But the rest of the summer should be interesting.

On Dumba: Every year you look at it, there’s always a couple names you hope one of them fall to you, and we were lucky for second year in a row (they wanted Brodin last year badly).

I know you’ve kicked a lot of tires. How tough is it to make a trade knowing you don’t want to get rid of your kids and you’re waiting for free agency: If there’s an opportunity to make your team better, it’s hard to wait because there’s a lot of unknown factors in free agency. It’s hard just to assume you’re just going to cure all your ills there. If we can improve our team by trade, we will. We’ll be aggressive. Right now the sense I got is there’s a lot of things that maybe later on the summer as opposed to a draft type situation. … again, we’ve worked hard to build up our prospect pool and we’re not looking to gut it to solve an immediate problem. We certainly want to solve some immediate problems, but not at the expense of this pool that we’ve worked so hard to build up. What’s exciting for me is when you look at it now, just from a prospect standpoint, you look at the forwards we have, the goaltenders we have, the defensemen we have, it’s a well-rounded prospect pool. It’s really good depth. It’s exciting. It’s exciting to think of eight or nine kids coming into camp next year with a potential shot at making the team. Our best days are ahead of us. We all want to get there tomorrow. But if we have a little bit of patience here, we’re all going to be rewarded in a big way.

I told you you were taking Dumba too: Yeah, you did. I was hoping you were right.

 

Wild selects Mathew Dumba in first round

Posted by: Michael Russo Updated: June 22, 2012 - 8:10 PM

The Wild has selected Mathew Dumba with the seventh overall pick. The Red Deer Rebel has all the tools -- big hits, big shot, pure offense.

Here's a look at his stats and some tidbits, and here are some highlights

He led the Western Hockey League with 20 goals and he had 57 points. He was Canada's captain at the 2012 World Under-18 Championship, leading the tournament in scoring with 12 points. It's the first time a defenseman ever led the tournament in scoring.

Dumba, although he stands under 6-foot, plays the game like his much bigger hero Drew Doughty, the L.A. Kings star thoroughbred of a defenseman.

“I want to play next year,” said the confident Dumba. “I’m the type of guy, my will is strong and I want to go somewhere and compete for a position next year.

“I think my game is very versatile. I do believe in my skills where I can do it all almost.”

He said after being drafted, it was like, "Nothing I’ve ever felt before."

He is buddies with Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper, his former Red Deer teammate, who told Dumba before the draft that the Wild treats their players right.

 

In a blockbuster that just happened, Jordan Staal was traded to Carolina to play with his brother for a first-round pick, Brandon Sutter and a prospect. Outstanding trade by the Pens.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT