Five burning questions for Wild training camp: Can Guerin swing a trade for forward assist?

Finally, after a lengthy offseason with few additions and notable subtractions of Kevin Fiala, Cam Talbot and Dmitry Kulikov, Wild training camp has arrived.

Players reported Wednesday, with the primary on-ice periods coming Thursday.

Fifty-eight gamers will participate within the camp, together with 22 promoted from the Tom Kurvers Prospect Showcase final week in Chicago.

Several observe periods are free and open to the general public. Here’s the present training camp schedule, which could be very a lot topic to alter. Here’s the hyperlink to order tickets for practices for training camp and all through the season.

Before we launch into training camp discuss, listed here are some tales to make amends for if you happen to missed them this summer time:

Moving forward now, let’s take a have a look at the largest questions the Wild should reply in training camp, plus projected strains and the cap state of affairs:

1. Can Guerin pilfer a good forward off a cap-strapped group?

Why bury the lede? This is the largest query of the camp. By buying and selling Kulikov, the Wild freed up $2.25 million in cap house and now technically have $5.7 million and alter to spend.

In the group’s thoughts, that quantity is de facto decrease, as a result of with Jordan Greenway and Jon Merrill not anticipated to start out the season, there’s theoretically room for 4 roster hopefuls to make the group: a sixth and seventh defensemen (one maybe being Calen Addison), a thirteenth forward and, so long as he earns a spot, Rossi.

However, with the season opening with a four-game homestand and AHL Iowa so shut, the Wild do not essentially must put a seventh defenseman and thirteenth forward on the roster (barring damage) till they head out for a five-game highway journey in late October.

The Wild may also wish to go away themselves with no less than $1 million in cushion to have the ability to afford call-ups this season.

General supervisor Bill Guerin’s plan right here is clear.

NHL groups have to be cap compliant — under the $82.5 million ceiling — by opening night time Oct. 11. There are a number of groups round or above the cap. There are additionally groups that merely have too many forwards.

Guerin’s hope is that because the season creeps nearer and these groups grow to be extra determined, he’ll be capable to snag a high quality forward, ideally a scorer who can assist change the 85 factors misplaced by dealing Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings, for both little or no or basically for free.

Some groups which may want that kind of cap dump embrace Florida, Edmonton, Dallas, Montreal, Boston, Vegas, Los Angeles, Washington, Toronto, Columbus and Vancouver.

There is also very intriguing gamers positioned on waivers subsequent month.

2. How do the strains shake out?

Unless one thing has modified since The Athletic sat down with Evason final week, the Wild’s prolific prime line from 2021-22 of Kirill Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello will stay intact.

But with Greenway on the shelf, who takes his spot on the left aspect of Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno?

There will likely be a lot of experimentation in camp, however Evason mentioned Tyson Jost will get the preliminary look. Jost arrived in a trade from Colorado for Nico Sturm final season however by no means received a lot alternative past the fourth line. This will likely be his large shot to not solely obtain elevated minutes but additionally contribute offensively whereas serving to the road keep its id as a shutdown trio.

We all learn about Evason’s affinity for Freddy Gaudreau. He feels he can play anyplace. After Matt Boldy’s arrival final January, Gaudreau centered a potent line with Fiala and Boldy.

But simply to point out you ways a lot of a possibility the Wild are giving Rossi to make the group, Gaudreau is anticipated to start out training camp at left wing so Rossi and Sam Steel could be tried in that heart spot subsequent to Boldy.

Connor Dewar and Brandon Duhaime will bookend the fourth line. If Rossi makes the group, Steel might find yourself within the heart spot there. But do not be shocked if we hear a lot about Nic Petan in camp, too. The 27-year-old heart has 154 video games of NHL expertise and will push to make the group as a twelfth or thirteenth forward.

Remember, lots of the plans could possibly be altered if Guerin’s in a position so as to add that forward earlier than the opener.

3. And what concerning the protection pairs?

Evason dropped a bit of reports in final week’s Q&A when he mentioned the Wild plan to open camp by breaking apart the highest two protection pairs.

Longtime staples and off-ice besties Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba will not open camp collectively.

Instead, Brodin will likely be paired with captain Jared Spurgeon whereas Dumba will begin with Jake Middleton, who arrived final season from San Jose within the Kaapo Kahkonen trade.

“We suppose that it would give us the chance to play Spurge and Brodes in opposition to the high-, high-, high-end guys, speed-wise, after which these different two in opposition to a little bit extra, the grittier, heavier teams,” Evason mentioned.

So we’ll see how that appears.

With Merrill damage, Alex Goligoski will presumably open camp on the left aspect of Addison. It’ll be fascinating to see the way it performs out in camp between Addison and Andrej Sustr, the 6-foot-8 right-shot defenseman with 361 video games of NHL expertise.

Guerin talks just like the plan is for Sustr to make the group. He’s a high quality penalty killer, which was a main downfall for the Wild final season. But Addison is a power-play man, and the Wild’s energy play was a disappointment final season, too.

So this could possibly be a true camp battle.

4. What PP and PK changes will we see?

Evason indicated that we’ll see personnel adjustments on the ability play however not so many schematic adjustments. Obviously, it will be fascinating to see how the Wild work in Boldy and newbies like Rossi and Addison. When they performed collectively in Iowa, Boldy and Rossi had good chemistry on the ability play and every performed the half wall. Addison quarterbacked the ability play down there.

On the penalty kill, Evason indicated that the Wild — passive means too usually final season — will likely be a lot extra aggressive. But he additionally needs his gamers to cease with desperation clears that do not get out of the zone and sometimes find yourself behind the web. Part of the design of the Wild’s tweaked penalty kill system will likely be to provide gamers extra passing choices contained in the defensive zone.

5. Will Rossi make the group?

Rossi had a fairly nondescript training camp final September, which was not a shock. After his well being scare the earlier winter, he needed to take a number of months off — not simply off taking part in hockey but additionally off skating and understanding. That led to a brief offseason of training.

But after having practically a level per recreation final season in Iowa, Rossi labored exhaustively this offseason to arrange for camp. He’s so motivated he even requested his household not to think about visiting till nicely into the season so he can focus solely on making the group.

The Wild wish to see Rossi stand out in each practices and exhibition video games over these subsequent few weeks.

A spot was left vacant for him. The door is extensive open. Now it is on him to take benefit.

Anticipated strains and protection pairs to open camp

Forwards

Line LW C RW

1

Kirill Kaprizov ($9M)

Ryan Hartman ($1.7M)

Mats Zuccarello ($6M)

2

Tyson Jost ($2M)

Joel Eriksson Ek ($5.25M)

Marcus Foligno ($3.1M)

3

Freddy Gaudreau ($1.2M)

Marco Rossi ($863,333)

Matt Boldy ($880K+)

4

Connor Dewar ($800K)

Sam Steel ($825K)

Brandon Duhaime ($750K)

5

*Jordan Greenway ($3M)

Vying for spots: Rossi ($863,333), Nic Petan ($762,500), Adam Beckman ($894,167), Mitchell Chaffee ($750,000), Mason Shaw ($750,000), Nick Swaney ($750,000), Joseph Cramarossa ($750,000), Sammy Walker ($855,000), Brandon Baddock ( $750,000), Steven Fogarty ($750,000), Damien Giroux ($818,833), Sam Hentges ($855,000), Vladislav Firstov ($925,000), Pavel Novak ($846,667)**.

* Greenway is coming off two offseason surgical procedures and is anticipated to overlook the beginning of the season.

** Novak has been identified with most cancers, has completed chemotherapy and instructed The Athletic on Sunday that he will likely be examined by docs in two weeks.

Defensemen

Pair LD RD

1

Jonas Brodin ($6M)

Jared Spurgeon ($7.575M)

2

Jake Middleton ($2.45M)

Matt Dumba ($6M)

3

Alex Goligoski ($2M)

Calen Addison ($795K)

4

*Jon Merrill ($1.2M)

Andrej Sustr ($750K)

Vying for spots: Addison ($795,000), Sustr ($750,000), Dakota Mermis ($750,000), Joe Hicketts ($750,000), Daemon Hunt ($850,833), Ryan O’Rourke ($866,667), Simon Johansson ($855,000).

* Merrill is coming off offseason surgical procedure and is anticipated to overlook the beginning of the season.

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury ($3.5 million)

Filip Gustavsson ($787,500)

Vying for spots: Zane McIntyre ($750,000), Jesper Wallstedt ($925,000), Hunter Jones ($825,833).

Cap house

Salary-cap hit: $64,018,333

Dead-cap costs (Zach Parise/Ryan Suter): $12,743,588

Salary cap for 2022-23 season: $82.5 million

Wild’s cap ceiling: $69,756,412

Salary-cap house: $5,738,079 (excludes roster hopefuls like Rossi, Addison, Sustr or others probably making the group)

(Top photograph of Jared Spurgeon and Kirill Kaprizov: Brace Hemmelgarn / USA right now)

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