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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Wild 2012-13 Depth Chart

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: July 5, 2012 - 11:09 AM

Quite a day yesterday, eh?

If you can, pick up today's Star Tribune because there's a fantastic amount of coverage, from articles, to charts, to pictures, to the other design. Just an awesome job by a team of writers, designers and editors -- and on a holiday where normally many of these people wouldn't be in the office or at the laptop.

If you can't pick up a paper, here's some links to our coverage

My main Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signing story

My analysis of what this means to the team on and off the ice

Jim Souhan's column on an elated Wild owner who spent $196 million on long-term contracts

Patrick Reusse's column on stars actually showing Minnesota love

Chip Scoggins' column on JP Parise's excitement about his son coming home

Joe Christensen's story on how Joe Mauer and Ron Gardenhire played a role in the recruiting of Parise

Kent Youngblood's sidebar on reaction elsewhere in the NHL

Kent Youngblood's sidebar on a flood of season-ticket sales already

Kent and my sidebar on Wild player reaction

Runners-up react and even vent

Also, in the paper and on www.startribune.com/wild, there's lots of charts and bio boxes on Parise and Suter by Michael Rand and Dennis Brackin

WILD 2012-13 DEPTH CHART

And without, further ado, here is your updated Wild depth chart for next season.

As I wrote in today's analysis, yesterday's moves to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, as well as signing Zenon Konopka and Torrey Mitchell on July 1, almost assures that the Wild will be patient with its prospects and have them grow together in Houston. That is the way the good teams do it. Be patient, don't force-feed kids into the NHL, promote when they're ready.

The Wild suddenly has a lot of forwards.

I talked to Chuck Fletcher yesterday afternoon and he did say if any of his prospects come to camp and proves he is one of the top 12 forwards, the GM would deal with it then and find a way to make it work. In other words, a prospect would have to play himself onto the team rather than what's previously been the way in Minnesota -- little competition in camp, free jobs to players.

Now, players have to earn it, and Mikko Koivu said yesterday, "I think that's a good thing."

The Wild does have a lot of forwards. Does that mean Fletcher will eventually make a trade, perhaps for a defenseman? Fletcher said if a trade cropped up that helps the team, he would do it, but because of the immense amount of injuries the Wild has had the last few years, he'd prefer to let things play out in training camp and use the sudden depth as a strength. I still suspect there could be trade somewhere down the line, but we'll see.

So the big question is, with this group of forwards now, where does Devin Setoguchi land on a line, or a Matt Cullen, or a Torrey Mitchell? The below depth chart is my opinion without knowing yet what coach Mike Yeo is considering.

Yeo will be available to the media at Monday's Parise/Suter introductory news conference, so this could be updated.

The one thing I do know is Yeo would like to start Mikael Granlund off in training camp as the No. 2 center. Here's your depth chart:

FORWARDS

Left wing-Center-Right wing

First line: Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley
Second line: Devin Setoguchi -Mikael Granlund-Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Third line: Matt Cullen-Kyle Brodziak-Cal Clutterbuck
Fourth line: Darroll Powe-Zenon Konopka- Torrey Mitchell
Extra: Matt Kassian
Potential other extra: XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Stephane Veilleux, Jake Dowell, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson, Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker, Zack Phillips, Nick Palmieri, Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, David McIntyre, Carson McMillan, Kris Foucault, Justin Fontaine, Joel Broda
Minor-league restricted free agents still to be signed: McIntyre, Palmieri, Palmer, McMillan

DEFENSEMEN

Left-Right

First pair: Ryan Suter-Tom Gilbert
Second pair: Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon
Third pair: Clayton Stoner-Nate Prosser
Extra: Justin Falk
Potential other extra: XXXXXX

Vying for spots: Falk, Prosser, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Steven Kampfer, Tyler Cuma, Chay Genoway, Drew Bagnall, Kyle Medvec, Josh Caron, Colton Jobke
Restricted free agent still to be signed: Falk

GOALTENDERS

No. 1: Niklas Backstrom
No. 2: Josh Harding

In the wings: Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper

Note: XXXXXX signifies open spot.

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