Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
Calen Addison has been full of promise since he was acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then, just an offensively gifted defensemen that was lighting up the WHL, Addison has steadily developed through the COVID-ridden seasons, getting loads of time in the minors and leading that team, and he might just be fulfilling that original promise this season.
Due to Jon Merrill’s off-season surgery, he will be starting the season out of the lineup, and it is now a perfect time for Addison to fully take control of this opportunity to stick around. Hell, GM Bill Guerin even traded away Dmitry Kulikov for absolutely nothing so that the young defender wouldn’t have any massive hurdle to truck through at training camp.
The former second-round pick has just produced steadily and consistently wherever he went, but now is the time to really shine and show off. And he’s been good enough so far to earn one of the top spots on our list.
Addison hovered around a point per game through his junior career, and surprisingly, it stayed around the same rate when he turned pro. Typically, you always see these point-producing defensemen in junior hockey explode, and then get humbled as soon as they take their first stride on AHL ice. Not Addison, for some reason.
Through his two full AHL seasons (hopefully the last two) and the brief appearance while with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, Addison scored 13 goals, earned 58 points in just 77 games, earning three points in every four games he played on average. A truly impressive feat done by someone so young. There’s a reason why he has earned gold at both the Under-18 Hlinka-Gretzky tournament, and at the World Juniors. No matter where he plays and with who, he produces.
Roll the Tape
Addison might be the most watchable and entertaining blueliner we have had in the Wild organization in a very long time. His skating is top notch, both in straight ahead speed but also in his agility and ability to get out of tough situations or under pressure with possession of the puck. That is what makes him so dangerous as a creator.
I love Calen Addison pic.twitter.com/QLKTJJlO63— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) April 17, 2022
Plus, if he can’t create a goal on his own, or help sustain the offensive pressure, he can utilize the rocket of a shot he has.
Calen Addison bomb pic.twitter.com/4TBRdNxK6F— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) April 6, 2022
4-0! calen addison chases fleury from the net with a rocket! pic.twitter.com/W7SBlDBkzb— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) January 22, 2022
For someone that isn’t the biggest defender, or even above-average size, Addison can unleash a cannon seemingly out of nowhere. A powerful and poignant projectile that can rip through a defense and past a whole lot of good goaltenders.
And how about this little piece of work from Boldy to Calen Addison, as well? pic.twitter.com/VFIYOw3zSV— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) April 10, 2021
He’s just so damn fun.
Simply put, Calen Addison can decide his own future with the opportunity this season. With Brock Faber possibly turning pro in the spring, and more blue line prospects coming through juniors, Addison is in a unique position that can determine his place on the Wild for the next several years.
If his play this season echoes his potential and what he has done in the AHL, then he is destined to take over Matt Dumba’s role on the second pairing and be another reliable offensively-gifted defenseman playing behind Jared Spurgeon. In that scenario, Dumba walks in free agency because the Wild have built his replacement from the ground up — and a cheaper one at that. Add in Faber or Lambos or O’Rourke or Peart or Hunt, as the filler surrounding the other experienced defensemen, and you suddenly have your own little blue line ecosystem with prospects eventually replacing the veterans as they get older and grow out of their positions. And Addison is at the forefront of that group.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesterenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D
7. Marat Khusnutdinov, C/LW
6. Liam Öhgren, LW
5. Brock Faber, D
4. Calen Addison, D