Mitchell, Wild's other early-summer signee, no longer an afterthought

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2013 - 11:37 PM

With all the hoopla surrounding Zach Parise and Ryan Suter as the Wild season gets under way Saturday night, one would think Torrey Mitchell would feel a bit slighted.

Quite the contrary, said Mitchell, who actually signed three days before Parise and Suter in July.

"The running joke all summer with my buddies was the Wild got me a good supporting cast because I was the big signing," Mitchell said, laughing.

Mitchell, 27, signed a three-year, $5.7 million deal and was initially slated to be third-line right wing. The versatile forward, who scored 73 points in 280 games for San Jose, spent training camp on the fourth line with Darroll Powe and Zenon Konopka because the Wild has gotten so much deeper up front.

"It should be electric," Mitchell said. "It's a big culture change with the group of new faces, but I'm excited with our big expectations and think our line can make an impact right away.

"That'll be our job -- to create energy, momentum, kill penalties and do the job defensively."

Ready or not

With training camp only lasting six days, coach Mike Yeo was asked if he felt the Wild was ready.

"I'll tell you after [Saturday] night's game," Yeo joked.

"We had a good plan. We covered everything we needed to cover more than once. We got the reps we needed. By no means is it habit yet ... but I feel comfortable with where we've gotten and I'm feeling confident."

Strategically tough

Yeo isn't planning to play left winger Matt Kassian, who led the Wild with seven fights last year, against Colorado. But that could change if Patrick Bordeleau, a minor league bruiser, makes his NHL debut.

"We'll have to see what kind of lineup [the Avs] are bringing," Yeo said. "He's here for a reason and if we feel we need him, he'll play."

Defenseman Tom Gilbert (groin) said he is "good to go" to play. Yeo said that means rookie Matt Dumba probably won't make his NHL debut.

Etc.

• Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who suffered a season-ending concussion last year, will play for the first time since Jan. 4, 2012. "It's been a long time waiting," he said. "I feel pretty good out there and my head feels good. Every day in training camp I was feeling more comfortable."

• Forwards Nick Palmieri, Stephane Veilleux and Jake Dowell cleared waivers and were assigned to Houston of the American Hockey League.

• Defenseman Jonas Brodin, a 2011 first-round pick who underwent surgery for a broken clavicle in November, practiced again Friday and is expected to be reassigned to Houston soon. "It's been 10 weeks and I've only had contact for three days, but it feels like I'm ready," said Brodin.

• Forward Cal Clutterbuck was honored by a local gay-rights advocacy group for his work to improve the school environment for gay students, and especially gay athletes. He received the "outstanding ally award'' from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), during its conference at Hamline University.

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