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Iowa Wild Mid-Season Grades

Yesterday, we saw the assessment of the players on the right side of Minnesota's southern border. Today, let's see what's happening in the Land of Corn.

Tyler Graovac is one of few bright spots from the AHL Iowa Wild.
Tyler Graovac is one of few bright spots from the AHL Iowa Wild.
Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Hockey Wilderness posted the mid-season grades for the players on the Minnesota Wild. But there's a lot more to the Wild's organization than the NHL club. To get you caught up with what's going on with the Iowa Wild, here are mid-season grades for the Iowa Wild.

Failing grades

Johan Gustafsson

He's been worse this year than last year, and he ended last season with a sub .900 save percentage. He's not improving. Last season, everyone blamed his failures on learning the North American sheet of ice. That excuse has run out of mileage. Gustafsson is an RFA at the end of this season, and I expect the Wild to quietly let him return to Europe.

Zack Phillips

This is Phillips' third season of pro hockey. As a first round pick, he should be a top point producer, centering the first line or he should have graduated to the NHL like Coyle, Zucker and Granlund, who started their AHL careers at the same time as Phillips. Phillips has managed 5 goals and 8 assists this year. Tuesday night, he was a healthy scratch.

Kurtis Gabriel

In preseason, there was buzz that Gabriel would be among the first players called up when Minnesota suffered forward injuries. He can't be considered for a callup because his 2 goals and 1 assist in 28 games show that he's struggling with AHL level competition. But he's had 6 fights!

Passing grades

Tyler Graovac

I seriously love this guy. You saw how good he was when he was up with Minnesota. He's all hard work and taking the puck to the net. Even though he was with Minnesota for a few games, he still leads Iowa in shots on goal. He's a delight to watch. Not only is he "playing the game the right way," he is actually producing.

Michael Keranen

Keranen has an offensive flair that the Iowa Wild really need. He's the team's number one playmaker with 22 assists, and has been essential to the Iowa power play.

Zack Mitchell

For a kid in his first professional season, Mitchell has been playing like a leader on the team. He plays in all situations and performs well. His penalty killing efforts have been particularly outstanding.

Honorable mention: Marc Hagel

His contract is only with Iowa, so he is not eligible for a callup to Minnesota, but he's been performing well enough that he deserves mention. He makes smart defensive plays and contributes offensively.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: I assume Mathew Dumba (4-8-12; 32 SOG; +2) didn't make the passing grades part because he's ineligible on account of ascending to Valhalla.- Tony)