The Wild’s offseason is formally over, however preparations for puck drop are simply heating up.
After one other summer season of turnover, the staff can be again on the ice for the first practices of coaching camp on Thursday at Tria Rink in St. Paul and there’s nonetheless a lot to determine.
From roster battles to lineup adjustments, the Wild have work to do to prepare for opening evening Oct. 13 towards the New York Rangers. What occurs throughout their on-ice classes and a seven-game preseason schedule, which begins Sunday vs. Stanley Cup champion Colorado at Xcel Energy Center, ought to reply these questions.
Can Rossi ramp it up?
Once once more, prized prospect Marco Rossi will attempt to make the Wild and this could possibly be the yr he sticks with the squad.
For starters, the ninth general draft choose from 2020 is coming off a sturdy season in the minors, racking up 18 objectives and 35 assists for 53 factors in 63 video games in the American Hockey League. Rossi, who turns 21 on Friday, additionally now is aware of what it is prefer to skate in the NHL after the heart made his debut again in January when he appeared in two video games with the Wild earlier than returning to Iowa.
Plus, the Wild have room on their roster.
Who can step in for Greenway and Merrill?
Winger Jordan Greenway and defenseman Jon Merrill will not be prepared for the begin of the season after every had offseason surgical procedure on an upper-body harm, and their absences have an effect on the Wild’s prime shutdown line and third defensive pairing.
Tyson Jost is anticipated to get the first crack at filling Greenway’s seat alongside Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno after Jost stood in for the injured Greenway late final season and the Wild appreciated that look. Acquired in March in a commerce with the Avalanche, Jost chipped in two objectives and 4 assists in 21 video games with the Wild.
As for the blue line, Merrill’s restoration coupled with Dmitry Kulikov’s commerce to Anaheim actually elevates Calen Addison up the depth chart, however the 22-year-old will nonetheless need to earn a spot in the lineup. He had two objectives and two assists in 15 video games with the Wild in 2021-22 and one other seven objectives and 27 assists in 43 video games for Iowa. Addison additionally has power-play potential.
Who might combat for roster spots?
Rossi and Addison is perhaps the most intriguing candidates, however they don’t seem to be the solely potentialities.
Forward Nic Petan has greater than 150 video games of NHL expertise, most not too long ago with Vancouver, and defenseman Andrej Sustr cut up final season with Tampa Bay and Anaheim. Both gamers signed two-way contracts with the Wild in July.
Dakota Mermis, who already had spot responsibility with the Wild over the previous two seasons, is an alternative choice for the again finish.
Will the Brodin-Dumba breakup work?
The Wild plan to tweak their protection by pairing captain Jared Spurgeon with Jonas Brodin and putting Jake Middleton alongside Matt Dumba, however will these adjustments click on?
Brodin and Dumba have been a longtime duo for the Wild, and chemistry like theirs might be robust to seek out. Middleton’s grit additionally appeared to enhance Spurgeon’s smarts when the two teamed up final season after Middleton’s arrival at the commerce deadline from San Jose.
Still, it is smart why the Wild would need to experiment: Brodin and Spurgeon are the staff’s greatest defenders whereas Middleton and Dumba play a bodily fashion.
Can the power play be salvaged?
Both sides of particular groups will obtain a makeover in camp.
Schemes can be adjusted, and the Wild will take a look at out totally different personnel for the power play and penalty kill after expensive shows final season. The power play completed in the center of the pack (20.5%) however went 4-for-24 in the first-round playoff loss to St. Louis, whereas the penalty kill ranked twenty fifth (76.1%) and gave up the third-most objectives (63) in the NHL.