Comfortable veterans fit right in

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 24, 2011 - 12:14 AM

Two veterans making a strong case they deserve the job as the Wild's 13th forward are Jed Ortmeyer and Warren Peters.

Wild forward Warren Peters

Photo: Andy King, Andy King/Bruce Kluckhohn Photo

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So much has been made about Cody Almond and Casey Wellman vying for the Wild's 13th forward spot, but with both young players injured, the position is wide open a week into training camp.

Two veterans making a strong case they deserve the job are Jed Ortmeyer and Warren Peters.

"Those guys, their names haven't been mentioned much, but I've got a lot of confidence in them," coach Mike Yeo said. "You can see if we get shorthanded or the other team's top line is going out, I have full confidence putting those guys out on the ice.

"They have a knack for not just playing good defense. The best way to protect a lead is to try to get to the offensive zone."

Yeo knows both Ortmeyer and Peters well. They were key cogs during the Houston Aeros' run to the Calder Cup finals only a few months ago, and Yeo was the coach.

"It's really easy for us to step in," said Peters, who scored 15 goals and 32 points in 62 games for the Aeros last year and chipped in a goal in 11 games for the Wild. "It's only a few months ago we played the exact same system. It's the most comfortable I've ever been coming to camp. You know everybody, from management on down."

Peters, 29, scored the Wild's goal in a 1-0 victory at St. Louis on Thursday, and Ortmeyer, 33, was a horse throughout the game.

"He's a great leader," Yeo said of Ortmeyer, who's played 310 games in the NHL. "He's a guy that's never ever going to shortchange you on his effort and his commitment to winning a hockey game."

Ortmeyer said: "I've been around. I've played in enough games. I want to showcase what I have and prove that I can still play in this league."

Neither Ortmeyer nor Peters is resigned to the fact he's Houston-bound. Ortmeyer and Peters are in camp to win a roster spot, "or at the very least, make a great impression so you'll be the first guy called up," Peters said.

Wellman practiced Friday, but Ortmeyer and Peters will both play Saturday in Pittsburgh.

"Those guys did not hurt themselves [Thursday] with their performance, that's for sure," Yeo said.

Staubitz penalized

Wild forward Brad Staubitz received a game misconduct and five-minute major for checking the Blue Jackets' Cody Bass from behind in the third period of Friday's 4-3 victory over Columbus. Bass was bleeding, and although he ultimately returned, Staubitz could possibly face supplemental discipline.

The Wild wound up killing off the major penalty, and then won it on Dany Heatley's power-play winner in overtime after James Wisniewski was whistled for an illegal hit to Cal Clutterbuck's head at the end of regulation.

Peters released

The Wild released 18-year-old forward Taylor Peters from his amateur tryout Friday. He logged eight minutes against the Blues after a strong prospect tournament in Traverse City.

Peters, who plays for Portland of the Western Hockey League, is a 6-3, 212-pound, physical, smart checking center.

"The coaches all love him," assistant GM Brent Flahr said. "He may be worth a contract, or we may send him back and look to draft him [in June], or if he doesn't get drafted, invite him to camp again next year."

Etc.

Former Wild coach Todd Richards didn't make the trip to Minnesota with Columbus, where he is an assistant. He was hit with a shot at the Blue Jackets' morning skate and needed stitches.

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