Nate Prosser sticks to the Minnesota Wild like a high powered magnet. Try as the franchise might to throw him away, he always comes flying back to the State of Hockey. This routine is about as dependable as the gang from Scooby Doo unmasking old man Whithers who haunts the local carnival at the end of every episode. Sure as the sun doth shine, Nate Prosser will play for the Wild.
Much like the rest of the roster, Prosser’s position on the team sits in limbo. With a newly minted GM coming in who holds no allegiances to the current team we could finally be in a position to see his tenure here come to an end. Unlike the rest of the roster, if Prosser makes it through the summer without being traded, he will be one of two players on the team to play for all 3 General Managers in Minnesota Wild history.
Quite frankly, and I don’t believe I’m breaking any news here, Nate Prosser is replaceable, yet at the same time, he isn’t. He will forever be known as the best 7th defensemen in franchise history. Partly because, he’s honestly not that bad and partly because most Wild fans have a hard enough time remembering Prosser’s name let-alone another 7th defensemen like Greg Zanon’s beard.
Part of Prosser’s allure to the team is the fact that he’s a local. Prosser, who hails from Elk River, is one of those “team players” who you can count on to show the new guy around town. But the guy really does know his role. He takes a lot of hits every night on the ice. A lot of hits. A lot. And most of the time he’s taking those hit at the same time he’s kicking the puck out to transition up the ice. Sure, sometimes he fails. But isn’t that what’s exciting about Prosser?
It was a banner season for Prosser who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday. Something a lot of people forget about Prosser’s season was he actually logged 15 minutes of ice time in 1 game for Mike Yeo and the St. Louis Blues to start the season. That was all the action he would see however, and as we turned the calendar to December, 2017, the Wild would claim Prosser off waivers.
For the Wild, this was a move to plug in a guy they know, who knows the system, as an insurance policy as the defense suffered from spotty injuries and young players still learning the game. Prosser is dependable. In the offensive zone the guy plays the quiet role of agitator. You’ll commonly find him in post-whistle scrums, exchanging words and smelly gloves with his foe.
The guy played in 56 games for the Wild this season and tied a career high with 3 goals. That is impressive considering I had him pegged somewhere between 0 and 1 goal for his time here. He’s not a guy you’re going to throw out there on the power play. He doesn’t log a pile of minutes like Ryan Suter. He’s not here to log minutes and score goals, he’s here to take hits, block shots, and get in someones face when they get to close to the talent, and he does those things well.
Prosser added 6 assists to go with his 3 goals, for a balmy 9 points on the season. This actually constitutes a good season for him though, tied for the 2nd most offensive output in his 9 NHL seasons. He works hard for those points too. He kind of has to. He’s definitely not the most fleet afoot guy out there and he handles the puck like a dump truck takes corners.
For what it’s worth, 3 goals and 6 assists from Nate Prosser is a good season. He performed well for the task he was given and despite the deficiencies in his game, they are well known to the locals and built into the package that is your expectations for Nate Prosser’s season. Grading him on a scale, Prosser earns a solid B+ on the season.
Nate Prosser came in to shore up some holes in the Wild’s defense by providing dependable depth at an affordable price. While players like Nate Prosser may be a dime-a-dozen, his familiarity with the franchise provides him with some job stability. The Wild have tried plugging in new pieces, and they can’t push Prosser out. Even when he tries to leave, he comes back. Nate Prosser, we can’t quit you!