Wild brings in veteran center Steckel for training camp tryout

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 9, 2013 - 9:14 PM

The veteran is strong on faceoffs and could end up giving the team depth in the middle.

hide

Center David Steckel, shown playing for Anaheim last year, will join the Wild for training camp on a tryout basis.

Photo: Alex Gallardo, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

In an attempt to improve the Wild’s depth up the middle and perhaps sign an eventual bargain, the Wild will bring veteran center David Steckel into training camp on a professional tryout agreement.

Steckel, who has played 419 games for four teams over eight NHL seasons, was one of the out-of-work victims of the shrinking salary cap this summer.

“It was a difficult summer,” said Steckel, 31, a faceoff specialist who played 21 games for the Anaheim Ducks last season. “I’d like to still think that I can play in the NHL. I’m thankful Minnesota gave me an opportunity, so in the end, hopefully I can make an impression and stick with the team.”

Steckel, who led the NHL in 2010-11 by winning 62.3 percent of his faceoffs for Washington and New Jersey and has the second-best career faceoff winning percentage among active NHLers (.583 since 2005-06), has a strong identity as a player, coach Mike Yeo said.

Knowing that he is not a scorer (79 career points), Steckel is a big body at 6-6 who is responsible defensively and a solid penalty killer.

The Wild is lacking a clear-cut No. 2 center after allowing Matt Cullen to depart via free agency for Nashville and third-line center Kyle Brodziak, who scored 22 goals two seasons ago, is coming off a down year (eight goals, minus-18).

Yeo said Charlie Coyle and Mikael Granlund, both 21, rookie Erik Haula and even Brodziak will get second-line center looks throughout camp.

“The center position is a position where we do have a couple question marks, and bringing in a guy with Steckel’s experience and his pedigree — he could potentially answer one of those questions,” Yeo said. “We’re going to try a lot of different combinations and a lot of people at different positions, and he’s now in that mix.”

The pro tryout doesn’t bind Steckel to the Wild. He’ll remain an unrestricted free agent throughout camp, meaning he could sign with any team at any time. If he doesn’t make the team, General Manager Chuck Fletcher said Steckel might play in Des Moines of the AHL to “wait for an opportunity with us or somebody else.”

“He’s a proven NHL player, and we know he can play in the league,” Fletcher said. “It’s just a numbers game, so we’ll see how things sort out in camp.”

Training camp opens Wednesday with physicals and fitness testing. The Wild will take the ice for the first time Thursday at Ridder Arena before moving to Xcel Energy Center on Friday.

This weekend, the Wild will hold two sessions that are free and open to the public. On Saturday, fans can watch practice at 9:30 a.m. On Sunday, fans can watch the Wild scrimmage at 11 a.m.

Single-game regular-season tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Xcel box office and at noon at all other locations.

Progress on Pominville

The Wild is working toward signing veteran forward Jason Pominville to a contract extension. The former Sabres captain scored four goals and nine points in 10 games after his April 3 acquisition last season.

“They’ve talked a few times for sure and are going back and forth about what the plans are,” Pominville said last week. “We’ll just go day by day and see if both sides can make progress and go from there.

“They committed to getting me, so just that means a lot to me and being part of a group that is committed to having success and being in a city that loves hockey, that makes it even better.”

Rupp optimistic

Left winger Mike Rupp, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after last season to repair a torn meniscus, might not be ready for the start of camp. Rupp has been skating on his own but not yet in full drills.

“He’s feeling better and working hard and after talking to him [Monday], I’m a little more optimistic, but it’s a question mark,” Yeo said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 0 Top 1st Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 0 2nd Prd 16:58
Buffalo 3
Carolina 0 2nd Prd 13:33
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 1:54
Detroit 0
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close