The Wild did their first roster cut-downs yesterday. These were necessary moves as training camp will be wrapping up shortly, and the Wild will need to make final judgements on the people on the roster bubble, not to mention get their players in game situations.
The roster cuts were for the most part what you'd expect. Erik Haula's name was floated around as a player who had a chance to make a roster, but that was always contingent on Granlund and Coyle not being able to handle the second line center job. If their pre-seasons are any indication of their readiness, Haula didn't have a shot. Weird to see that Justin Fontaine did survive the first round of cuts if Haula didn't, because Fontaine is likely in a similar boat, with Coyle, Granlund, El Nino, and Zucker pushing for open forward spots.
On the defensive end, it's clear that the Wild don't think Jonathon Blum needs only a change of scenery to re-gain the form that made him a top prospect. They put him on waivers (with a two-way deal?), exposing him to be claimed by other teams. He probably will be fine for depth, but people dreaming about him hitting a light switch (like me) might be prompted to stop. This also does more to clear a path to Mathew Dumba making a roster, which I find exciting.
Not much to see here. The next round of cuts will be much more interesting. Unless the Wild are willing to send a one-way contract or two to the AHL, at least one of Granlund, Zucker, and El Nino will be heading to Iowa. I do not wish to see any of them go.
But there's other news, so let's get to the Walk, shall we?
Wild roster cut to 28, plus practice update | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com- Russo with his insight as to cutdown day.
Wild notes: Roster pared to 28, Haula among demotions | Star Tribune- The paper version of Russo's Rants.
First Round Bust: Jake Dowell On ESPN''s E:60 Tonight- I've referred to this before, but Jake Dowell has a very scary situation going on in his life. Very sad to see.
Minnesota Wild's Matt Cooke breaking bad habits, showing offensive skills - TwinCities.com- Chad Graff is impressed by the fact that Matt Cooke isn't Happy Gilmore. Also, if Matt Cooke took off his skate and tried to stab somebody with it, where would it rank in the Pantheon of Dirty Matt Cooke Plays?
Minnesota Wild Player Previews 2013/2014: Matt Cooke - Gone Puck Wild- Finally! A Matt Cooke article that only refers to his dirtiness in passing!
The Team of 18,001: Notable Tough Guys In Wild History- Brad Staubitz is on the list, which would be much more appropriate if toughness was measured by the number of times Darcy Hordichuk baited you into taking stupid penatlies.
The Team of 18,001: Meet The Central Division: Dallas Stars- Giles looks at Dallas, who could be an interesting team next season.
Tending the Fields
Minnesota Wild Player Previews 2013/2014: Nino Niederreiter - Gone Puck Wild- Ger also previews Knightrider, which is much easier to spell. These best-case/worst-case scenarios don't mean anything if he doesn't play in Minnesota, which he should.
Off the Trail
Phil Kessel suspended for three glorified scrimmages for slashing attack vs. Sabres | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Why even suspend him if you're just gonna do that?
Derek Stepan, please keep acting the fool vs. New York Rangers GM | Puck Daddy - Yahoo Sports- Derek Stepan's not happy with what the Rangers are offering him. Which he shouldn't be. Pay the guy.
Devils sign Brunner: two years, $5 million | ProHockeyTalk- As much as I wanted the Wild to sign Brunner this offseason, there's already a logjam at forward without him. And he's not much more of a sure thing than Granlund, Nino, Zucker, having only one season under his belt.
Under Pressure: Marian Gaborik | ProHockeyTalk- Gaborik is hoping that his contract year goes a little better than his last one did.
The NHL Volatility Index - The Triangle Blog - Grantland- Down Goes Brown looks at the most controversial storylines for the upcoming season.
NHL - 25 Under 25 Rankings - ESPN- There are nine defensemen ranked on this list. Erik Karlsson, P.K. Subban, Alex Pietrangelo, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Drew Doughty, Ryan McDonagh, John Carlson, Slava Voynov, and Victor Hedman? Was Jonas Brodin snubbed?
NHL - Auditing Top 25 under 25 list - ESPN- Craig Custance doesn't think so.
This has nothing to do with the Wild, but I know that many of you are into rap. While writing this article, I was listening to Deltron Event II, the long-awaited follow up to Deltron 3030, the debut album of a collaboration between Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Dan The Automator, and Kid Koala. Very nice to listen to, and you can stream it on Pitchfork right now. And if you haven't listened to Deltron 3030, you should do that right now.