Markit8: What’s your impression of Mike Rupp and Torrey Mitchell?
A: The entire fourth line of Rupp, Zenon Konopka and Mitchell gives Yeo quality shifts nightly. They spend time in the offensive zone, they’re physical, Konopka wins draws, and Yeo trusts them defensively. Mitchell is sneaky skilled and fast and can slot up in lines. And it’s no coincidence the Wild’s turnaround coincided with the Rupp trade Feb. 5.
Joelbert: What is the brass’ opinion of draft picks Daniel Gunnarsson and Johan Gustafsson?
A: Both are playing well for Lulea in the playoffs. The Wild will talk to Gunnarsson, a 6-5 defenseman, after the season, but he’s in a good spot developing in Sweden. Gustafsson is planning to come to North America next year, but if Hackett and Kuemper are again in the minors, he may stay in Sweden.
Ctillhockey: Other than Matt Dumba, who is the Wild’s most promising non-pro prospect?
A: They have many but are real high on Tyler Graovac, who may become a 2011 seventh-round steal. He finished 10th in the Ontario Hockey League with 38 goals.
Megami: Who is the team MVP?
A: Suter. He plays half the game, his calming influence is contagious, he gets the puck out of the Wild’s end and he creates offense. He never gets caught running around. He’s a true Norris contender. In fact, the Wild could be contenders for several awards (Koivu and Parise, Selke; Brodin, Calder; Yeo, Jack Adams; Backstrom, Vezina).
Bstrom45: How far do you see them going into the playoffs?
A: I’ll just say, there’s something special about this team right now. They’re deep, getting good goaltending, is immersed with leadership and has established an identity. The chemistry on and off the ice is impressive. That can take you a long, long way.