clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wilderness Walk: Picking on the Kids

Eriksson Ek and Kunin are sent to the AHL, Mitchell gets called up, and some quarter season predictions

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, my article opining on which of Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin should stay with the big club upon the (earlier than I expected) return of Charlie Coyle was posted. Some of you commented that an alternative option, and one I personally found persuasive, was to keep both players up and start scratching an underperforming forward. Sadly, there are several that the Wild could choose from. The additional benefit is that the Wild wouldn’t be without an extra forward in the event of a last minute injury, but those never happen so never mind about that.

Well, the Wild’s management and coaching staff found an alternative to the alternative: they sent both Kunin and Eriksson Ek down to the Iowa Wild. The move is questionable, and Tony Abbott provides a good hard look at the decision here. While I don’t doubt that the rookies could benefit from some bolstered confidence, sending them down to the AHL isn’t the only way to accomplish that. In fact, getting sent down in the first place is probably a shot to the gut for them both, setting them back a little bit further before they hopefully get their mojo back with the Baby Wild. It seems like playing Kunin and Eriksson Ek with some more talented linemates, perhaps rotating them onto Koivu’s or Staal’s line, would have accomplished the same ends while also not punishing two forwards that are playing well (for rookies) but not getting the results on the scoresheet just yet. Several of the veteran forwards on the team are just as cold as the rookies and, at least to my eye, don’t seem to be playing with the same compete level as them either.

In no way is Boudreau as deferential to the veterans on his team as former Wild head coach Mike Yeo seemed to be, but this move does smack of that regrettable instinct to trust the guys that have been around longer regardless of the comparable on ice results. So here’s a little song to cheer up the rookies and let them know they aren’t the only guys to ever get picked on.

Wild News

Wild sends struggling first-round picks back to minors - StarTribune.com
See above.

Wild hopes Mitchell adds some zip to its offense - StarTribune.com
This move doesn’t bother me. Bringing up Zack Mitchell is a good reward for his success and helps motivate the rest of the Baby Wild too.

Wild's Foligno and Ennis happy in Minnesota, 'where losing is not an option.'
So, about that scratching an extra forward idea...

On Frozen Pond

NCAA Hockey: Top Five Plays
The Wild need some of the Gopher’s OT magic.

Tending the Fields

Jacob Ingham of the Steelheads: The 2018 NHL Draft's Elite Goaltender
Dubnyk won’t be around forever. Maybe the Wild need to gamble on a goalie?

Off the Trail

Rumor Roundup: Canadiens’ struggles spark speculation about Price, Pacioretty | The Hockey News
Trading Carey Price = blowing the team ALL the way up

Acknowledging and analyzing the NHL's top five lines this season - Sportsnet.ca
The Wild might not have a line in this group, but Koivu’s line has done pretty well against the ones they’ve seen so far.

Vezina Trophy rankings: The top 31 starting goalies in the NHL | The Hockey News
Dubnyk’s three consecutive shutouts pushes him into the top third after a shaky start.

Lightning's Kuckerov, Coyotes' Keller among NHL quarter-season awards picks
It's time again for NHL quarter-season awards. But how do you choose an MVP if the league's two best players are on the same team?

Phil Housley embracing new challenges with Buffalo Sabres
South St. Paul's Phil Housley is back in Buffalo, where his 20-year NHL playing career began, aiming to bring the Sabres to prominence as head coach.

Calder Trophy Race Update: Barzal, DeBrincat Making Noise
The Wild’s two dark horse candidates have definitely been thrown fallen off the list.

Jagr not interested in farewell tour with Flames
Of all the teams they could discuss being Jagr’s last, they went with the Capitals?

Forgettable NHL Jerseys: The Worst of the '90s and 2000's
U-G-L-Y