Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Russo's back; Want to meet Wild coach Mike Yeo?

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news, Wild training camp Updated: August 30, 2011 - 10:26 AM

Sooooooooooooooooooo, how are you?

It's been awhile. Been to Alaska, Vegas (more than once), Fla., New Yawk and Shakopee (I'll post pictures from there soon). Just returned from Boston, where I fended off Hurricane Irene so my brother and his beautiful bride could get hitched.

Nailed the "Best Man" Speech, and now I'm back in MinnesOHta getting mentally prepared to cover my seventh Wild season.

Want to meet Mike Yeo? Want the opportunity to ask the new Wild coach questions?

On Friday from 3-3:30 p.m. at the Star Tribune booth at the Minnesota State Fair, I will be hosting a Q&A with Mike Yeo.

So stop on by with some good questions at your arsenal for the coach. I'll be at the Star Tribune booth until at least 4, so if you've got any questions for me or, better yet, story ideas for training camp, feel free to offer em up.

I will also be at the State Fair on Thursday from 10-11 a.m. at the KFAN booth broadcasting live with Paul Allen, so stop by and check that out, or tune in.

As you've probably heard by now, the Wild has invited former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jordan Hendry to training camp to try out for a job, either with the Wild or (or more likely unless there's injuries) a two-way deal that could land him initially with the Houston Aeros. Just a way to perhaps add more depth to the team. He's coming off a season-ending torn ACL.

Hendry sat in between John Scott and Nick Leddy last year in the Hawks' room, so whenever I went in there to catch up with Scott and Leddy, Hendry was always involved in the conversations.

Seems like a nice, very funny guy.

What kind of a defenseman is he? Scouting report from an NHL peep I trust is this: "Mobile d-man that plays a simple game. Not a big offensive guy, but he makes simple outlets and doesn't make many mistakes. Competes."

Training camp is right around the corner. Players officially report Sept. 16, with Yeo's first game behind the bench Sept. 20 in Edmonton. But players are trickling into town now. I went down to the Octagon pre-training training camp at the St. Louis Park Rec Center last week, and there were 50 NHL/Wild/college/junior players already there. More and more will be showing up in the coming days.

After the final exhibition game Sept. 30 against Edmonton, the Wild will head to Duluth for two days of practice and team bonding Oct. 3-4.  The Wild opens at home Oct. 8 against Columbus before it hits the road for Long Island and the Dany Heatley Ottawa frenzy.

Before that, the Wild's prospects will attempt to defend their championship by taking part in the Traverse City NHL prospects tournament Sept. 10-14 with Detroit, Buffalo, Columbus, Carolina, Dallas, the Rangers and St. Louis.

I'll put the roster and schedule on the bottom.

Just to get you back in the Wild mood, here's my updated depth chart:

 
Wild Depth Chart
 
Here’s a look at the Wild's unofficial depth chart for next season as it stands today. There are basically three spots open if one assumes 18 one-way contracts and two two-way contracts (Clayton Stoner and Jared Spurgeon) are certain to make the team. The other three spots (TBD) would come from youngsters vying for spots or external acquisitions (free agency or trades). Alongside each player is his 2011-12 salary and 2011-12 salary-cap hit. The salary-cap ceiling for next season is $64.3 million. The floor is $48.3 million.
 
FORWARDS
 
Line 1: Pierre-Marc Bouchard ($4.25 million salary, $4.08M salary cap hit); Mikko Koivu ($7.29M, $6.75M); Dany Heatley ($8M, $7.5M)
 
Line 2: Guillaume Latendresse ($2.6M, $2.5M); Matt Cullen ($3.5M, $3.5M); Devin Setoguchi ($2.75M; $3M)
 
Line 3: Darroll Powe ($950K, $1.066M); Kyle Brodziak ($1.3M, $1.15M); Cal Clutterbuck ($1.5M, $1.4M)
 
Line 4: Colton Gillies ($600K, $625K); Eric Nystrom ($1.4M, $1.4M); Brad Staubitz ($600K, $575K)
 
Extras: TBD; TBD
 
Note: One or two spots are open depending on if the Wild keeps 13 or 14 forwards (assumes Gillies makes the team), or seven or eight defensemen.
 
Vying for spots: Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, David McIntyre, Carson McMillan, Matt Kassian, Jed Ortmeyer, Jeff Taffe, Jarod Palmer, Chad Rau, Jon DiSalvatore, Warren Peters.
 
DEFENSEMEN
 
Pair 1: Nick Schultz ($3.6 million salary, $3.5M salary cap hit); Marek Zidlicky ($4M, $4M)
 
Pair 2: Greg Zanon ($2.1M, $1.933M); Mike Lundin ($1M, $1M)
 
Pair 3: Clayton Stoner ($575K, $550K); Jared Spurgeon ($535K, $527K)
 
Extras: TBD; TBD
 
Note: One or two spots are open depending on if the Wild keeps 13 or 14 forwards.
 
Vying for spots: Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser, Justin Falk, Drew Bagnall, Jordan Hendry (tryout).
 
GOALIES
 
Starter: Niklas Backstrom ($6 million salary, $6M salary cap hit)
 
Backup: Josh Harding ($750K, $750K)
 
SALARY BREAKDOWN
 
• Actual 2011-12 payroll (as of today): $54,769,445*
 
• Salary cap hit: $53,109,777*
 
Notes: Includes bought-out Mark Parrish’s $927,778 payoff and cap hit and bought-out Cam Barker $541,667 payoff and $375,000 cap hit.
 
*These totals include 20 of a possible 23 players (includes Gillies). This doesn’t include the other youngsters vying for the team or possible free-agent or trade acquisitions. That means the payroll and salary-cap hits are in actuality higher because up to three spots will still be filled.
 
2011 MINNESOTA WILD TRAVERSE CITY PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT ROSTER
FORWARDS HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2010-11 TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM ACQ
73 Joel Broda 6-0 208 Left 11/24/89 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Bakersfield ECHL 32 17 13 30 39 FA/10
Houston AHL 22 5 2 7 16
54 Brett Bulmer 6-2 182 Right 4/26/92 Prince George, B.C. Kelowna WHL 57 18 31 49 109 EN/10
38 Nathan Burns 6-0 165 Left 7/15/93 Edmonton, Alberta Vancouver WHL 59 14 9 23 52 TRYOUT
52 Justin Fontaine 5-10 160 Right 11/6/87 Bonnyville, Alberta Minnesota-Duluth WCHA 42 22 36 58 42 FA/11
72 Kris Foucault 6-1 202 Left 12/12/90 Calgary, Alberta Calgary WHL 65 25 23 48 60 EN/09
53 Tyler Graovac 6-3 179 Left 4/27/93 Brampton, Ontario Ottawa OHL 66 10 11 21 10 EN/11
81 Mike Kramer 5-10 200 Right 8/28/87 St. Paul, Minnesota Princeton ECAC 31 13 18 31 4 TRYOUT
75Alex Belzile 5-11 188 Right 8/31/91 St-Eloi, Quebec Rimouski QMJHL 64 27 40 67 78 TRYOUT
57 Tyler Maxwell 5-9 179 Left 4/13/91 Manhattan Beach, California Everett WHL 68 41 25 66 59 TRYOUT
34 David McIntyre 6-0 190 Left 2/4/87 Pefferlaw, Ontario Albany AHL 78 12 18 30 51 TRD/11
83 Taylor Peters 6-3 212 Left 1/24/92 Delta, British Columbia Portland WHL 72 8 11 19 47 TRYOUT
61 Zack Phillips 6-1 175 Right 10/28/92 Fredericton, New Brunswick Saint John QMJHL 67 38 57 95 16 EN/11
80 Carter Sandlak 6-1 190 Left 5/18/93 London, Ontario Belleville OHL 34 9 7 16 44 TRYOUT
82 Dylan Willick 5-10 183 Right 10/19/92 Prince George, B.C. Kamloops WHL 72 24 20 44 53 TRYOUT
DEFENSEMEN HT WT SHOOTS BORN BIRTHPLACE 2010-11 TEAM LGE GP G A PTS PIM ACQ
56 Dylan Busenius 5-11 180 Left 1/30/93 Sherwood Park, Alberta Medicine Hat WHL 63 7 14 21 33 TRYOUT
68 Josh Caron 6-3 215 Right 2/10/91 Campbell River, B.C. Kamloops WHL 27 1 1 2 47 FA/10
26 Tyler Cuma 6-1 198 Left 1/19/90 Toronto, Ontario Houston AHL 31 1 3 4 15 EN/08
59 Kris Fredheim 6-2 195 Right 2/23/87 Campbell River, B.C. Houston AHL 66 3 6 9 24 TRYOUT
65 Chay Genoway 5-9 177 Left 12/20/86 Morden, Manitoba North Dakota WCHA 36 6 31 37 26 FA/11
74 Colton Jobke 6-0 170 Left 4/20/92 Delta, British Columbia Kelowna WHL 51 1 9 10 84 FA/10
62 Sam Lofquist 6-2 205 Right 3/15/90 Somerset, Wisconsin Guelph OHL 62 8 28 36 57 TRYOUT
67 Kyle Medvec 6-6 225 Left 6/16/88 Burnsville, Minnesota Vermont HE 29 2 4 6 28 EN/06
GOALTENDERS HT WT CATCHESBORN BIRTHPLACE 2010-11 TEAM LGE GPI W-L-OT SO GAA SV% ACQ
31 Matt Hackett 6-2 179 Left 3/7/90 London, Ontario Houston AHL 45 23-16-4 2 2.37 .916 EN/09
35 Darcy Kuemper 6-4 200 Left 5/5/90 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Red Deer WHL 62 45-12-5 13 1.86 .933 EN/09

-- MORE –

2011 MINNESOTA WILD PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE*

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
7:30 a.m. Minnesota Wild practice
2:30 p.m. Minnesota vs. Buffalo
3:00 p.m. Dallas vs. Carolina
6:00 p.m. New York Rangers vs. St. Louis
6:30 p.m. Detroit vs. Columbus

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
10:00 a.m. Minnesota Wild practice
1:30 p.m. Columbus vs. Buffalo
2:00 p.m. St. Louis vs. Carolina
5:00 p.m. New York Rangers vs. Dallas
5:30 p.m. Minnesota vs. Detroit

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
12:45 p.m. Minnesota Wild practice

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
9:30 a.m. Minnesota Wild practice
2:00 p.m. Dallas vs. St. Louis
2:30 p.m. New York Rangers vs. Carolina
5:30 p.m. Minnesota vs. Columbus
6:00 p.m. Detroit vs. Buffalo

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
2:00 p.m. Seventh Place Game (4th Gretzky vs. 4th Howe)
2:30 p.m. Fifth Place Game (3rd Gretzky vs. 3rd Howe)
5:30 p.m. Third Place Game (2nd Gretzky vs. 2nd Howe)
6:00 p.m. Championship Game (1st Gretzky vs. 1st Howe)

*Schedule subject to change. All times listed are Central.
 

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