The NHL revealed Thursday that the 24 teams participating in the postseason will be free to open training camps on July 10. We know for the most part the players who will be participating in Minnesota Wild training camp, but it appears there will be a few additions to the roster.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his most recent 31 Thoughts column, the Wild will be including Kaapo Kahkonen, Sam Anas and Gerald Mayhew on their training camp roster. Kahkonen, Anas and Mayhew were all outstanding for the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild in 2019-20, and they’ve each certainly earned consideration to play for Minnesota this postseason.
While Anas and Mayhew are both promising young players — Anas led the AHL in points and Mayhew led the league in goals — it’s Kahkonen who has a realistic chance at making a big impact for the Wild in their play-in series against the Vancouver Canucks. Kahkonen, 23, finished the 2019-20 regular season with a 25-6-3 record, a 2.07 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. He also led the AHL with seven shutouts on the season. Last month, he was awarded the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award, given to the AHL’s most outstanding goalie of the year.
Kahkonen also appeared in five NHL games for Minnesota in 2019-20, posting a 2.96 goals against average and .913 save percentage. Perhaps his best performance of the season, including his AHL outings, came against the Florida Panthers on December 3 when he set a Wild record for saves in a game by a rookie goaltender with 44 on the night.
Currently, Alex Stalock and Devan Dubnyk are Minnesota’s two best options in net. But if Kahkonen impresses in camp, it wouldn’t be completely outlandish if he were to receive some time in net.
In Friedman’s report, it’s also confirmed that the NHL and NHLPA continue to sort out whether or not teams can sign players to new contracts for the 2019-20 season. If the NHLPA gets its way, the Wild should finally be able to sign Kirill Kaprizov to his entry-level contract, allowing him to partake in the 24-team tournament, which would give Minnesota an obvious boost against Vancouver.