23rd overall pick, Tyler Cuma of the Minnesota Wild poses for a portrait at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft at Scotiabank Place on June 20, 2008 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (June 20, 2008 - Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images North America
Tyler Cuma will play tonight for the injured Clayton Stoner. This will make Cuma the 46th player and 15th rookie this season for the Wild.
Word Association time! I say Tyler Cuma, you think ... injuries! This kid has had his NHL career path severely altered as a result of numerous injuries. He's a walking infirmary.
Mike Yeo on Tyler Cuma
"I thought that coming back into training camp that he didn't have the same jump and the skating, it looked like he lost a bit of a step, which is completely normal," said Wild coach Mike Yeo, who coached Cuma last year in Houston. "It takes time to get it back, and from what I understand, he's been doing a good job of that and playing really well down there. Last year for us, he came in as a young kid and really had to change his game a little bit. He was able to get away with a lot of things in junior that he wasn't able to in pro, and he had a great attitude for us and really started to become an effective, really strong two-way defenseman."
So Mike Yeo has a history with Cuma, knows what he can do and hopefully it works well for him next season. This kid has worked his ass off to come back from injury time and again. It's nice to see him finally get his shot, short though it will be this season.
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From Heather (ms.conduct) - Full article here
I often get asked what happened with him. Remember his first camp after being drafted and folks (including, if I recall correctly, Lemaire) were so impressed with his poise for such a young guy, that there was some fleeting thought given to turning him pro right then and there?
But reason prevailed and they sent him back to junior where he got hurt. Then hurt again. Then hurt again. Then he turned pro with the Aeros and... got hurt again.
There's no doubt the string of injuries since he was drafted have set him back, but the kid is going to be okay. He plays a good stay-at-home defensive game. Not perfect, but solid and makes good decisions with the puck.
I never have to say, "Aughhhh" when I watch him play, which is, in my book, the mark of a good defenseman. You just don't have to worry about him back there.
Moreover, as I follow his Twitter, the guy has his head on straight. I know it's just the occasional 140 characters, but you can tell if a guy is a slack-jawed idiot or has his priorities wrong or is a whiner based on his Twitter. And from everything I've seen of Cuma, he's a nice kid who cares a lot, and doesn't get too high or too low.
He's always first to congratulate a guy on a call-up, even as he's watched seemingly everyone deserving get the call except for him. That says a lot about his character in my book.
So, if you're wondering about Cuma, that's what I can tell you. I can't help but believe in and root for him. He might not be the most outspoken or gregarious guy, but his head seems to be on straight and he's got some talent. He's going to be fine.
Cuma fights with a Red Wings prospect at prospect camp in Traverse City, MI