How a guy like Jon DiSalvatore goes this long without an extended NHL look is one of the mysteries of the NHL. DiSalvatore is the heart and soul of the main development affiliate of the Minnesota Wild, has been nothing but consistent in his role (whatever that may be), and is the captain of the team. The captain. All of these injuries over the past two years, calls for veteran leadership, and no one thought to call up the captain of the Aeros?
He must not be political enough or something.
Well, he gets his chance today. After getting a five game cup of coffee with the Blues in the 2005-06 campaign, DiSalvatore is up with the Wild, and hoping to make an impact. Since he is one of the better players in the organization you may have never heard of, let's introduce ourselves, shall we?
After the jump.
From T3I via AHL.com:
"He's a great veteran player," Torchetti says of DiSalvatore. "He's a calming influence on the young guys. He's got a lot of poise on the ice. He's what you want your pro to be. He comes to work hard every day in practice. He's prepared. He's in great shape. He's a good voice in the locker room that you want when you close the door. It's great to see players like that who take pride in that role. That's why he's the captain."
...A ninth-year AHL vet, the Bangor, Maine, native realizes that teams like last year's Aeros squad don't just happen every year. Those teams take more than talent. They need chemistry and hard work. Players just can't go out on the ice and expect the magic to happen. They have to make that magic happen through solid effort, on and off the ice.
If players want to make the NHL, or want long careers, they have to realize it's all about one thing. It's not about the individual numbers. It's finding that ability to win. And it's this message that DiSalvatore discusses with his younger teammates.
From the Wild
DiSalvatore, 30 (3/30/81), leads the Aeros with 26 points (10-16=26) in 32 games while serving as team captain. He led the Aeros with 61 points (28-33=61) in 80 games last season, while tying for the team lead in post-season goals (seven) as Houston advanced to the Calder Cup Finals. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound native of Bangor, Maine, skated five NHL games with St. Louis in 2005-06, recording two penalty minutes. DiSalvatore was San Jose's fourth-round pick (No. 104 overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. He will wear No. 29 with the Wild.
That pretty much says it all. DiSalvatore can drop when called upon, too. You can find more video over on Youtube.
Where He Will Fit
DiSalvatore will play fourth line minutes with the big club. He'll be asked to bring some leadership to the ice, and to help shutdown the opposition, rather than contribute to the offense. That said, if he has the puck on his stick, don't expect him to fiddle around with it. He has a shot, and he knows where the net is. If he has a chance to score, don't expect him to pass on it.
Figure him to be a fourth line guy who maybe sees a couple chances on the third line if needed.