This summer, the Wild went out and signed Minnesota native Mike Lundin to shore up what looked to be a very young defensive corps. No one complained much. I mean, he's a Minnesotan, he must be perfect, right?
The point was not to clog the system, but to ensure that the youth were actually ready. No one wants to rush a prospect, especially a defensive prospect. Everyone figured Marco Scandella and Justin Falk would be in Houston (well, everyone but me), and that Lundin would be a staple on the blue line along with Nick Schultz, Clayton Stoner, Greg Zanon, Marek Zidlicky, and Jared Spurgeon.
always ever work out as planned.
Lundin has yet to play a game, Zanon is out with an undisclosed injury, Stoner has a broken finger, Scandella is out with a concussion, and now Zidlicky is hurt (and it sounds like a concussion). What now you ask? Well, the options become more and more limited with each injury.
After the jump, what is left in the cupboard?
The depth chart for the Wild is only so deep. The depth chart for most teams is only so deep, but for the Wild, even more so. While Chuck Fletcher has filled the cupboard, most of those guys aren't ready today. Looking at our contract page, here is who is left on the defensive depth chart:
Tyler Cuma - The last offensive d-man with any size left on the list. However, he has three points. Three. From what I remember, there isn't much faith there, either. Would be nice to see the kid get a chance though. Injury plagued career. Maybe a taste makes him better.
Drew Bagnall -Strong, steady, rock, physical, tough as nails. If they were looking to replace Stoner, I say yes. Hell, he may still be yes, and the offense from the blue line taken off the table. He is the best option, honestly.
Jeff Penner - Here's what I will tell you: 5' 10", 185 lbs. Not sure that's the route to take. He, too, has just three points. Not overly impressive.
Chay Genoway -Sigh. 5' 9", 177 lbs. Imagine The likes of Todd Bertuzzi drooling at the chance to play a d-corps with Spurgeon and Genoway? Only 14 pro games under his belt, but he does have 10 points. That's a win. Size a big issue here, though (pun intended).
Kyle Medvec -Here's your big body presence if you want it. However, I have watched Medvec, and never been impressed. I've been wrong before, but he was frustratingly invisible when Vermont was in town for the NCAA tournament. Not sure he's the best option. But, with few options left...
That's it. No... really. That's it. Five guys. Total. Five guys left on the depth chart with NHL contracts. Sure, one of the Aeros could be given an NHL deal, but are you putting your faith in Kris Fredheim? Elgin Reid? Yeah, I didn't think so.
The top options are Cuma and Bagnall, depending on what the coach wants to do in this situation. The second tier is Genoway or Penner. None of the options are good. Of course, there is always the option to go out and sign a vet looking for work. Can Owen Nolan play D? Another option is a trade. To replace a Marek Zdlicky, it might take a big move, though. Not even 20 games in, that could be tough.
Your move, Wilderness. What do you do?