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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 -
See above.

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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.

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