Entering his 10th season as Wild owner, Craig Leipold made his expectations clear during Saturday’s 2-1 preseason victory over Colorado.
“Anything short of winning the Stanley Cup would be a disappointment,” Leipold told reporters visiting his suite at Xcel Energy Center. “Probably 30 other owners would say the same thing. I think we have a team that can do it.”
Leipold said General Manager Chuck Fletcher “played it incredibly well” with his offseason moves. Fletcher signed Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter to contract extensions, re-obtained Matt Cullen via free agency and traded Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to Buffalo for forwards Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis.
Asked whether the ages of players such as Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter mean the Wild’s window to win a Cup is closing, Leipold said: “This window is wide open for us. We’ve got some players that are hitting their prime, and some young guys coming up we all talk about all the time. The window is not closing.”
Brennan Menell is turning an amateur tryout with the Wild into a serious showcase.
He didn’t make the St. Thomas Academy varsity as a sophomore, so the defenseman left to play for the Omaha AAA Lancers 16-Under team in the North American Prospects Hockey League.
Menell didn’t get a college scholarship offer, so he signed with the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League. He spent four years in that league, including two with Lethbridge before turning heads this month for the Wild at their development camp in Traverse City, Mich.
Now 20, Menell made his preseason debut Saturday and logged more than 15 minutes over 18 shifts, notching the second assist on Granlund’s goal.
“I thought that Mennell kid played unbelievable,” Wild assistant coach John Anderson said. “… The only problem is everybody else knows about him now.”
Menell is projected to play Sunday in Colorado, a well.
“Growing up here and watching these guys, it’s kind of a dream come true,” Menell said. “It’s unexplainable.”
• Anderson handled the postgame press conference while Boudreau tended to a family matter.
• After the game, the Wild sent Justin Kloos, Sam Anas and Nick Seeler to Iowa, trimming its training camp roster to 37.
• Parise (tweaked back) practiced with the team for a second consecutive day.
• Devan Dubnyk stopped 28 of 29 shots in his preseason debut, as the Wild improved to 3-0.
• The Wild killed all eight of Colorado’s power play chances in Saturday's 2-1 preseason victory.
• With NHL players shut out from playing in the upcoming Olympics, Leipold said the NHL is open to participating in the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. “China is going to be a whole different situation,” he said.
• The Wild’s announced attendance of 18,754 included 4,000 tickets donated for U.S. Bank kids’ day.