Update: Russo here. Goalie Anton Khudobin beat the clock on his qualifying offer expiring, gave up his KHL options and will return to the Wild next season, agreeing to a one-year, two-way contract. Go back to what you were doing now.
Kent Youngblood here. While the Wild was holding Day 2 of its developmental camp at the X Wednesday, there was a good bit of news going on off the ice with a couple goaltenders. For that update, including the signing of Josh Harding, look at the previous blog post.
On a day like today it was pretty nice – and cool – being rinkside watching hockey practice. One of the interesting things about a camp like this is the many different situations of the players here. Some are drafted players trying to make a mark. There are guys like Nate Prosser, coming off a strong (if short) finish to last season, with legitimate dreams of sticking with the Wild, full time, this fall.
And then there are guys like Matt Read, Justin Fontaine and Cameron Shilling. All three are here, learning, getting a feel for the ropes. But all three are returning to college. For Read and Fontaine, that means returning to Bemidji State and Minnesota-Duluth, respectively, in the fall.
“I just want to develop as much as I can, learn from the staff here,” Read said. “You want to come in, learn as much as you can, then take it back to college and be the best player I can be so I can get another (pro) opportunity.”
Read had opportunities to leave Bemidji State after his junior year. The winger was the first BSU player to win Division I all-American honors after scoring 19 points and getting 41 points for BSU last season. In 110 college games over three seasons, he has totaled 108 points, leading his team each season; the Beavers qualified for the NCAA tournament the past two years.
Fontaine, meanwhile, is another productive forward, totaling 46 points in 39 games last season, leading the Bulldogs in scoring the past two seasons.
Both will be back in school in a couple months. Both will be playing in new arenas. Read will be leading the Beavers in their first season as a member of the WCHA conference.
For read, who called his decision to stay in school the toughest he’s ever made, it shows a maturity beyond his years. Indeed, he likens development camp to a summer internship, one that allows him to learn while getting himself on the radar for future employers. This is his fourth such camp; he was in a camp with the New York Rangers just a few weeks ago.
“You want to get a name for yourself,” Read said. “And you want to develop as a player.”
Said Fontaine: “You want to come out and do the best you can, both on and off the ice. You want to show you care. It’s a good opportunity. You learn so much about what it takes to go to the next level.”
Meanwhile….Casey Wellman reports that he’s managed to add about 12 pounds to his frame since last season. His job not is to keep that weight on.
I did some work on a story on Nate Prosser and Chad Rau that will run Friday. I understand Russo did a blog on this last year but it is amazing how much Prosser looks like Seann William Scott, the actor who played Stifler in “American Pie.”
Believe me, he’s heard about it for years. Shortly after arriving in Minnesota late last season Brent Burns nicknamed Prosser Stiflemeister.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading.
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Wild GM Chuck Fletcher provided the Star Tribune with several updates Friday.
GM Chuck Fletcher said the finish to the season after being the second-best team in the West during the regular season is "still incredibly disappointing. It still stings, let's put it that way."
The young forward, coming off a career year, missed three games at the end of the season with a lower body injury.
The 27-year-old defenseman is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for next season.
The defenseman is expected to be recovered by training camp in September.