We are slowly wading through the unending seas of the NHL preseason. There is no end in sight. We do not know when it started or when it will end, but we do know that the Minnesota Wild are heading down south tonight to face the St. Louis Blues for their fifth preseason game.
This will be the first time these two teams are playing one another since the Blues knocked the Wild out of the first round of the playoffs in six games, just a few months ago. Back then we were so full of promise and hoped that Minnesota could see postseason glory, and we are now just in the same position as we were but with a modified roster and some hardened experience.
Maybe some old wounds will be opened tonight if the goaltending isn’t great and the depth scoring isn’t there. But at least we can lean on the argument that the Wild aren’t bringing a whole lot of firepower to Missouri.
The Wild announced the roster that will be making the trip on Tuesday morning, but no specific lineup. So we have a rough estimate at what the lines might look like, considering who played with who in the first four exhibition games, and who is most likely heading to Iowa shortly.
Projected Wild lineup
Tyson Jost — Marco Rossi — Nic Petan
Connor Dewar — Sam Steel — Brandon Duhaime
Adam Beckman — Mason Shaw — Mitchell Chaffee
Brandon Baddock — Steve Fogarty — Nick Swaney
Jake Middleton — Calen Addison
Ryan O’Rourke — Andrej Sustr
Carson Lambos — Dakota Mermis
With the way Tyson Jost has been playing — earning five points in the two preseason games he’s been a part of — he certainly deserves top billing alongside Marco Rossi and still-roster-hopeful Nic Petan. We expect Dean Evason to run the second line as a pseudo experiment as to what could be the fourth line on opening night, and the rest is more or less Iowa fodder.
The top pairing on the blue line of Jake Middleton and Calen Addison could be a brief look into a Matt Dumba-less world, if the Wild choose to take that option, and just like the forward lines, the rest is planning for the AHL season with a little bit of junior hockey sprinkled in with Carson Lambos.
And since the projected NHL tandem is listed and Fleury played the full 60 minutes in Milwaukee against the Chicago Blackhawks, it’s an easy expectation that Gustavsson will get the full hour tonight. Just more opportunity to see some young players play some hockey against what should be a decent lineup dressed by the Blues (we do not actually know, they haven’t listed their roster at the time of writing).
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. CT.
We initially had this game listed as being on Bally Sports North, because we saw the Wild’s account tweet that it was going to be on there, but that tweet has since been deleted. So, the only way to watch this game appears to be on the Bally Sports app if you are near St. Louis. So, not a whole lot of readers of this blog.
With that news, we most likely won’t have a game recap published, because we won’t know what the hell is going on and will only get some sporadic highlights. Unless someone does something absolutely bonkers, it’ll most likely be quiet here.
Also, the Blues ended up having their lineup reported.
#stlblues lineup for tonight's preseason game against #mnwild:— Jeremy Rutherford (@jprutherford) October 4, 2022
That is a whole lot of NHL players, and basically their season-opening blue line. Considering Minnesota is dressing some young players and AHL depth, this might get ugly (or the Wild will win, and that would be hilarious).
Will Adam Beckman do anything?
Just one year ago, we were clamoring for the Wild to keep Beckman around in the NHL after an impressive training camp. But understandably, the former WHL Player of the Year needed a year longer of development in the minors and we accepted that. Now after a decent rookie campaign, there is just not the same level of excitement around him. Maybe it’s Rossi making the jump, or other young players popping out like Lambos, but we just want Beckman to show us that he should earn that next call up or lead the Iowa Wild in scoring this season. Just something.
What will be the first full impression of Gustavsson?
During his half-game debut for the Wild earlier this preseason, Gustavsson stood on his head, saving 26 of 28 shots he faced in 30 minutes — just getting completely peppered. Now with an expected large opportunity against the Blues, the young Swede has a chance to give us a little more confidence in the tandem.
How about the defense?
Through the first four games, the Wild are undefeated, but in addition to the result, they have allowed just six goals, and just four of those were during 5-on-5 action. Not bad at all! Now, not knowing what players St. Louis will be throwing out there puts a dent into this plan, but could we see the Wild defense stand their ground against a potentially potent lineup? It would be some performance without having Jonas Brodin or Jared Spurgeon out there.
See you tonight.