Mike Reilly sees an opportunity coming, with the Wild set to open its seven-game preseason schedule Monday at Winnipeg.
“I definitely think I can help this team,” the former Gophers defenseman said Sunday, during the Wild’s third day of training camp.
Reilly, 24, and Gustav Olofsson, 22, are the primary candidates to join free agent signee Kyle Quincey on the Wild’s third defensive pairing. The battle between Reilly and Olofsson will be a preseason focal point for coach Bruce Boudreau.
Boudreau noted that Reilly and Olofsson both signed one-way contracts, meaning the Wild has to pay their $725,000 salaries whether those defensemen are with Minnesota or Iowa, in the minors.
“I don’t want to use the term put up or shut up, but … the cream will rise to the top, I guess,” Boudreau said.
The Wild would need to expose Olofsson to waivers before sending him to Iowa, something they wouldn’t have to do with Reilly at this stage of his career.
“Obviously there’s a competition and that’s a good thing, too,” Reilly said. “It doesn’t let you get comfortable in anything.”
Boudreau knows what he’s going to get from his top four defensemen – Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin. Three other blue liners are gone from last season’s playoff roster: Marco Scandella, Christian Folin and Nate Prosser.
The Quincey signing, while not flashy, gave the Wild a 32-year-old veteran with experience from five other NHL teams, including New Jersey and Columbus last season.
Quincey said he’s looking forward to “just shaking the rust off, really,” in Winnipeg. A big part of his job will be mentoring Reilly and Olofsson.
Boudreau is pleased with the strength Reilly and Olofsson gained over the offseason.
The Swedish-born Olofsson has battled injuries but said, “I feel like I’m enduring training camp a little bit better than in years past.”
Backup goalie battle
Boudreau said Niklas Svedberg likely will get the start at goaltender Monday, with Steve Michalek given one period between the pipes.
Alex Stalock is expected to be the Wild’s backup goalie this season, behind Devan Dubnyk, but the backup competition remains open with Svedberg in the mix.
“I think it’s a battle,” Boudreau said. “I mean nobody has been given the job. Svedberg is going to get a chance. Stalock is going to get a chance.”
It sounds like Stalock will get an upcoming start, perhaps Thursday at home against Winnipeg. Boudreau said Svedberg or Stalock will then play a full game.
Still no Parise
Zach Parise skated at Xcel Energy Center but did not practice with the team for the third consecutive day. Parise reportedly tweaked his back before training camp started, and Boudreau has said the veteran is day-to-day.
• Other notable Wild players scheduled to play Monday include Charlie Coyle, Tyler Ennis, Chris Stewart, Marcus Foligno, Luke Kunin, Ryan Malone, Daniel Winnik, Carson Soucy, Kyle Rau and Justin Kloos.
• The game will be broadcast on 100.3-FM and is scheduled to be joined, in progress, on NHL Network.
• The Wild assigned four players to the minors — D Braydyn Chizen (to Kelowna, WHL), D Jacob Golden (London, OHL), RW Ivan Lodnia (Erie, OHL) and RW Dmitry Sokolov (Sudbury, OHL) — trimming the training camp roster to 54 players.