The Minnesota Wild have slowly completely their transition to the Minnesota Aeros, with several call-ups over the past few days, as veterans have figured out the season is over, and there is no sense in playing hurt. What this means is that the Aeros lose players as the Wild fill their roster enough to field a full squad. No one likes it, but it is the way it goes.
We've met most of the call-ups, we have never met Carson McMillan. Make the jump and figure out just what the fans should expect from Mr. McMillan.
Needing bodies at this point in the season is never a good thing. The silver lining is that some kids who deserve a chance finally get it, and can maybe show what they've got. The question is: what have they got?
His stats say the call up isn't meant to replace Martin Havlat's scoring touch. What he will do, however, is let Cal Clutterbuck move up, and McMillan hopefully can play the energy role, the toughness role. This is one of the kids that will be filling a role playing spot on the big club someday, so pay attention.
Youtube does not give us much help, returning only a couple scraps including this one:
From the experts at The Thrid Intermission at the beginning of the season:
Carson McMillan's not the most graceful of skaters. He's not going to be a big scorer, witness his eight points (4+4=8) in 56 games for the Aeros last season. This is something that McMillan confessed at the end of last season, as he was coming to grips that he wasn't going to be that scorer at this level that he'd been in the lower ranks. What he will be, if he can keep his head on, is a good third or fourth line guy. He'll provide some good energy off the bench. He also provides a physical presence, and if he plays within himself, there's no reason he can't be a consistent ice presence when the team needs a key defensive stop.
Finally, from our favorite Houston Aeros expert, Ms. Conduct, and update on where he is at right now:
I've recently compared McMillan to Clutterbuck without the agitation factor. He's a big hitter, he's got some offensive upside. The big thing, and Yeo brought this up too, is that he's versatile. Throw him on any line: top lines, he'll make space and contribute offensively. Checking lines, he'll get guys looking over their shoulders, keep pressure on the other team.
If I had to name a "most improved over last year" player, he'd be on the short list. He's no longer penalty-prone and he makes the most of fairly decent hockey sense to take advantage of offensive opportunities and keep pressure up on the defense. But he's a guy you absolutely don't have to worry about in his own end either. He'll block shots, go to the dirty areas (ahem), he's gritty, he'll fight if he needs to.
He's also very consistent. I never find myself saying, "Augh, Carson! What are you doing?" He's just steady eddie out there and durable as well.
Now, that said, I don't think he'll have a big impact in his debut. He's just not a flashy player like that and I feel sure he's smart enough to know that his best foot in the door is playing a strong defensive game first and foremost. Much like how Clutterbuck earned trust that same way, and then added elements of his game as he got comfortable.
Big thanks to H for the help with this one. Make sure you check her work out at her Ms. Conduct blog.
And there you have it. Carson McMillan. Energy guy, good for a big hit, and a solid checking line forward. Or as the Wild would likely credit him if this were a major motion picture: Warm Body #6.