Good afternoon.

Russo Radio's Wild wrapup will air tonight on 1500 ESPN at 6 p.m. CT. Go to for instructions on how to email or tweet questions to Joe Anderson and myself. You can also call in.

At the end of every season, I compile the below depth chart for the blog for your perusal for the offseason. So you may want to bookmark this blog so you can come back to it every now and then for easy review.

Wild Depth Chart
Here’s a look at the Wild’s depth chart for next season (***as it stands today). This way you can see what spots need to be filled (***as of today), either through the promotion of Wild prospects or external acquisitions (free agency or trades). This will obviously change depending on acquisitions or subtractions.
I am making the assumption here that none of the unrestricted free agents return.
In parentheses next to each player is his actual 2011-12 salary and 2011-12 salary-cap hit. The salary cap ceiling this past season was $59.4 million, but it’s expected to go up a bit next season.
XXXXXX-Mikko Koivu ($7.29 million; $6.75 million)-Pierre-Marc Bouchard ($4.25; $4.08)
Guillaume Latendresse ($2.6; $2.5)-Kyle Brodziak-($1.3; $1.15); Martin Havlat ($5.0; $5.0)
XXXXXX-Matt Cullen ($3.5; $3.5)-Cal Clutterbuck ($1.5; $1.4)
Eric Nystrom ($1.4; $1.4)-XXXXXX-Brad Staubitz (600K; 575K)
*4 or 5 open spots depending on if the Wild keeps 13 or 14 forwards, 7 or 8 defensemen and 2 goalies make the team 
--Vying for spots: Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, Colton Gillies, Carson McMillan, James Sheppard, Patrick O’Sullivan, Matt Kassian, Mikko Lehtonen (must be signed; reportedly already has one KHL deal)
--Unrestricted free agents: Andrew Brunette, John Madden, Antti Miettinen, Chuck Kobasew
--Key restricted free agents: Wellman, Sheppard, Gillies, O’Sullivan
--Key minor-league unrestricted free agents: Robbie Earl, Jed Ortmeyer
--May be signed: Mikael Granlund and Johan Larsson (to get to training camp, but GM Chuck Fletcher has indicated he doesn’t want to rush them to NHL)
Nick Schultz ($3.6; $3.5)-Brent Burns ($4.0; $3.55)
Greg Zanon ($2.1; $1.933)-Marek Zidlicky (4.0; $4.0)
Clayton Stoner (575K; 550K)-Jared Spurgeon (535K, $526,666)
Cam Barker (3.25; 3.0833)
*1 spot open if the Wild keeps 13 forwards, 8 defensemen and 2 goalies.
--Vying for spots: Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser, Justin Falk, Chay Genoway
--Key restricted free agents: Maxim Noreau, Prosser, Falk
Niklas Backstrom ($6.0; $6.0)
*1 spot open
--Vying for spots: Dennis Endras, Matt Hackett
--Unrestricted free agents: Jose Theodore, Josh Harding
--Must be signed to retain rights: Darcy Kuemper
Actual 2011-12 payroll (***as of today)
Salary cap
*Includes bought-out Mark Parrish’s $927,778 payoff and cap hit.
**This total includes the 16 NHL players.

The NHL and AHL playoffs begin tonight.

The Aeros open the postseason against Peoria, and if you want to watch games, I believe it's $6 a game and they can be found on or or

Marco Scandella will likely miss at least the first two games of the series with a broken finger, but he's getting closer

The following is from an Aeros email this morning:

The Houston Aeros open a best-of-seven series against the Peoria Rivermen in the opening round of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs. Game 2 is set for Friday at Toyota Center at 7:35 p.m. The series is a 2-3-2 format.

The Aeros finished the regular season with a 46-28-1-5 (98 pts.) record for the No. 2 spot in the West Division. The Aeros had the most wins in both the division and the Western Conference. Only two other teams finished with more wins (WBS – 58, Portland -47). Peoria finished at 42-30-3-5 (92 pts.) and earned the No. 3 seed in the West. Peoria raced out to an impressive 25-12-2-1 record in the first half of the season and went 17-18-1-4 in the final 40 games of the season.

Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild)
Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis Blues)

West Division Semifinals
Game 1 - Wed Apr 13 7:05 PM Peoria at Houston
Game 2 - Fri Apr 15 7:35 PM Peoria at Houston
Game 3 - Mon Apr 18 7:05 PM Houston at Peoria
Game 4 - Tue Apr 19 7:05 PM Houston at Peoria
Game 5 - Wed Apr 20 7:05 PM * Houston at Peoria
Game 6 - Fri Apr 22 7:35 PM * Peoria at Houston
Game 7 - Sun Apr 24 4:05 PM * Peoria at Houston

--- The Aeros went 2-3-1-0 (0-2-1-0 at home, 2-1-0-0 on the road).
--- HOU went 4/34 on the PP while PEO went 3/22.
--- HOU went scoreless on the PP in the first three games of the series.
--- PEO was held without a PPG in the first four games of the series.
--- PEO had the first goal in four of the six games including the first three overall.

--- This is the third time the Aeros have played the Rivermen in the playoffs. Houston swept the Rivermen in 2006 and won in seven games in 2009). Both were first round matchups.
--- The Aeros are 8-3 against Peoria in the playoffs.
--- Houston is 16-10 in Game 1 of a playoff series. They are 11-3 at home.
--- Three Aeros playoff Game 1’s have gone to overtime. The last time was on April 21, 2006 at home versus Peoria in a 5-4 win.

LAST PLAYOFF MEETING (April 27, 2009 at PEO)
Corey Locke tallied a goal and an assist and Krys Kolanos, Marco Rosa and Mitch Love tallied the other three goals as the Aeros ousted the Peoria Rivermen in Game 7 of the West Division Semifinals with a 5-2 victory. Aeros goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped 19 of 21 shots and helped secure Houston's first playoff series victory since 2006, also over the Peoria Rivermen.

Follow the Aeros on News Talk 1070 KNTH and online at AEROS.COM with Joe O’Donnell providing the play-by-play call. Watch every game at

Matt Hackett won a personal season-high four in a row from March 13-20… Hackett improved to 12-4-2 at home with the March 27 win vs. OKC… Hackett had won five in a row at Toyota Center until taking the loss on March 31 vs. CHI… Josh Tordjman is 4-1-0 in six appearances this season.

Jon DiSalvatore led Houston in scoring with 61 points (28-33=61) in 80 games. Hackett posted team-bests in wins (23), goals against average (2.37) and save percentage (.916).

POWER PLAY --- Finished the season with goals in six-straight to set a season-high streak (18/45)…Also had goals in six-straight from Feb. 22-Mar. 4… Has multiple PPG in 16 games and was 12-2-0-2 in those games.

PENALTY KILL --- Opponents were 16/46 on the PP in the final last eight games of the season… Allowed at least a goal in a season-high seven straight (Mar. 22 – Apr. 2)… Held opponents to one or no PPG in 15 straight games until TOR went 2-for-5 on Jan. 23.

Older Post

Wild signs Sioux's Chay Genoway

Newer Post

Aeros take 1-0 series lead over Peoria