The Minnesota Wild, in their 2021-22 season, suffered enough injuries for them to consider and re-consider several AHL call-ups and even had to rely upon some rookies making their debut to provide enough of a performance to balance out the absences. But we are not talking about those high-potential players here, we’re getting into the mud; the icky world of bringing in some minor-league veterans to play at the bottom of the lineup and just don’t do anything game-ruining.
Let’s look at the seasons of some forwards that we kind of forgot even played for the Wild this season.
Rau has been in the Wild’s system since 2017 and has made a smattering of appearances in the NHL since then, including a whole five games this season. He earned no points. got creamed in shot attempts, and managed to get three pucks on net during his 44 minutes of ice-time. Not a whole lot to say about the guy, but he seems to be capable enough as an AHL veteran presence and will remain in his break-in-case-of-emergency glass box.
Ah, Victor. The scapegoat that saw his career in Minnesota end this season via a trade to the Seattle Kraken with nothing in return. He will forever be known as Kirill Kaprizov’s first full-time centerman and someone that always got the majority of criticism from fans. It was always a mixed bag with Rask but this season was more than enough for the Wild to be comfortable with making the hard decision and put him on waivers and eventually demoted the forward to the AHL.
In the 29 games he played for the Wild, there were some moments of frustration, where Rask just seemed to forget where the puck was or have it dribble off his stick if the pass wasn’t perfect. But outside of that, he actually played his role decently well and must have taken getting shoved down the line from first-line center to 13th forward well enough too. Rask scored five goals and 13 points and averaged just slightly over one shot on goal per game with 30 total. Not bad! And if that whole package of not being absolutely terrible was attached to an up-and-coming rookie or someone just younger and cheaper, they would be praised for it. Unfortunately the context of him being him lessened the credit, but we’ll try to stay neutral and be fair.
Cramarossa was up in St. Paul during the toughest of the Wild’s unhealthy stretch for exactly one game and was on the ice for less than five minutes. I have run out of things to say about players that were barely here, but the good thing is that Cramarossa did not leave without any points, as he earned an assist. He wasn’t terrible, so I guess you can say he did a good job with the limited of time and opportunity he had.
Pitlick is an interesting character. After being claimed off waivers during training camp, we were all giddy with excitement that the Wild might have just pulled off an excellent maneuver and got this young winger with some potential, for nothing but a contract spot.
And it started off incredibly well. Pitlick scored a hat trick in just his fifth game for Minnesota and seemed to be a steady contributor in the bottom-six. But the only unfortunate thing is that he played for a team that wanted essentially everyone but the top guys to be a rough-and-tumble grinder that can produce offense but will more reliably punish any opponent for attempting to create offense of their own. Pitlick could not do that; he was an offensive shoot-first guy that did not really like responsibility in the Wild’s half of the ice and therefore got the boot off to be a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
In total, he played 20 games for Minnesota and scored six goals and 11 points. Not bad, but was otherwise a real nothing player. A flash-but-no-substance sort of winger that did not fit in well on the ice.