It’s not always easy when you think you’ve been handed a significant milestone in your life, to just have it ripped from you and taken back by the evil play reviewers up in Toronto. For Brandon Duhaime, it was seen as a reward for the Minnesota Wild rookie last night against the Los Angeles Kings, just for how well he’s been for his first two NHL games.
At least he has some company that knows what it’s like.
“It’s a tough one, but he’s had his looks,” Ryan Hartman said after the 3-2 win on Saturday. “I had my first goal disallowed so I remember that feeling. You get up, you get all excited and you got to wait — obviously they took a while to decide. But he’s going to get it, he looks great and is all around that net and he had his fair share of them tonight as well. It’s only a matter of time.”
Within his first handful of games, Hartman — then playing for the Chicago Blackhawks — got his first career goal called back due to the initial zone entry being offsides. A dagger through the youngster’s heart that was certainly paid off eventually, as he was able to score 19 goals just a couple years after the fake-out.
Through two games, Duhaime does have a total of seven shot attempts, so he is certainly getting those looks, as Hartman mentioned. And quite frankly, he’s been one of the most impressive Wild forwards to start the season. It might be just pure expectations for more of the other established guys, and a mix of an increased spotlight on Duhaime and hype surrounding him, but he’s been able to burst through the offensive zone and undoubtedly forechecks with a hellish mentality for getting that puck back in his team’s possession.
He will get one soon and it might not be a grimy one either, since he can absolutely rip it, just like he showed everyone in the preseason.
GOAL! Duhaime with an absolute laser from an impossible angle. just wow. pic.twitter.com/PaOkVpAIYi— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) October 7, 2021
For the wonderful nerds out there, Duhaime leads the entire team in expected goals with 0.95, according to our buds at Evolving-Hockey. Ahead of the snipers like Kevin Fiala and Kirill Kaprizov, Duhaime just gets clear looks in-tight and in those dangerous areas for the opposing team. Aside from one stray miss from beyond the faceoff circle, the farthest shot attempt Duhaime had was from just a mere 14.6 feet from the net — most of them come from closer and more centered in front of the netminder. It will happen eventually.
Beyond hyping up the rookies on his team, Hartman feels that a bond is forming within this current group. There’s been some significant turnover compared to the peripheral players on this roster, but all signs are pointing to yet another group of dudes that will just form a cohesive unit that is tough to knock down.
“It’s been good. We’ve had a lot of time in camp, and the little getaway there,” Hartman said, referencing the team trip to Duluth before the season started. “Starting on the road helps with the travel on the plane, we’re going to dinners, and we’re around each other every day. Opposed to going to the rink and then going home to your family. We’re definitely excited to go back home though, but we got four points and that was our goal.”
They will be playing their home opener on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets, facing them for the first time for quite a long time. But, Hartman didn’t even know that.