The Wild have been around almost long enough now to have "generations" of fans. Not exactly generations by age, but by era. There are those that have been around since the beginning, and there are those that have joined along the way. Neither are better than the other, but it does show a certain distinction if you can remember when Stephane Veilleux first came up from the Aeros.
This was a golden era in Wild hockey. When fans got really excited about a guy they knew was going to be a grinder. Someone who was coming in to do nothing more than rile up the crowd and rile up the competition. Veilleux is the original Cal Clutterbuck, folks. Having him back in the fold for part of this season was a welcome blast from the past.
Is that enough to get the committee to give him passing grades?
#19 / Minnesota Wild
Nov 16, 1981
Nathan - Stephane Veilleux is nothing more than a 4th line grinder/pest. He gives his all on every shift, and that was incredibly evident when he came over as part of the Marek Zidlicky deal. I would expect nothing more and nothing less than hard work and great PK play. Now, he was obviously fighting for a job next season, but that kind of play is why Veilleux was a fan favorite his first time in St. Paul.
Bryan - There are energy players, and then there is Veilleux. He doesn't add much on the score sheet, and stats folk would jump all over me for this, but SRV is exactly what any team should be looking for in a grinder. He goes out, gives 100% every shift, has a ball doing it, and provides a spark. Is he as young as he used to be? Nope, but he is still the same guy he was when he left. Giving out good grades is not easy on a team that failed as hard as the Wild. I don't care.
Jesse - Just another warm body included in the Zids deal, Veilleux found regular minutes with the Wild down the stretch, which is much more than he got a whiff of in New Jersey. Veilleux, to his credit, showed more heart than just about anyone on the roster. Now a veteran, Veilleux knew he was auditioning for a role for a team anywhere and I would argue he made some good impressions around the league. He made hits when he had to, he became a semi-agitator, getting in the faces of the competition, and he and his line even generated some of the few chances for the Wild. It wouldn't surprise me if Veilleux gets a one-year deal with the Wild to stick around. He's a solid veteran player who can fill out a Bottom-3 role very well while the Wild wait for some of the younger guys to step into the league.
JS - The firebrand returns. His grit and energy were well appreciated and he even put two points on the board. He also played pretty good defensively and was a pain in the ass for opposing players. He did take some unnecessary penalties though. I'd like the Wild to keep him to a two-way deal, as he would be a very good call-up. Plus, PMB will need someone to play ping-pong with once he gets healthy! As far as fourth liners go, I prefered him over Warren Peters and Jed Ortmeyer by a wide margin.