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Wilderness Walk: Fitting In Edition

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NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

That’s a tough photo for Nate Prosser, who took a face-full of backside from Jonathan Toews on Wednesday, just as Marilyn Indahl of USA Today Sports snapped a photo. Good snag by Marilyn, and one that Prosser will surely want to frame and put on the mantle for many years to come.

With the sending down of Alex Tuch and the swapping of Mike Reilly and Gustav Olofsson, I’ve been pondering the Wild’s prospects a bit more recently, and how Chuck Fletcher plans to fit them all in the lineup. At forward, with Tuch, Joel Eriksson Ek, Kirill Kaprizov, Jordan Greenway, and Luke Kunin all theoretically on the way in the next couple of seasons, Fletcher really can’t fit them in right away. This bodes well for the Iowa Wild, because even with players potentially leaving, getting injured, etc., there are too many good prospects to squeeze them all onto the NHL roster any time soon. Iowa will get a nice little boost to its core, which could make it a contender for the Calder Cup in the near future.

Even now, there’s no space for any of these guys. Tuch played well but still got sent back down, simply because there’s not enough room on the roster. As for defensemen, Reilly has been good, though still a bit scary on the defensive end of the ice. Even so, most teams in the league would let a player with that kind of upside ride it out and learn from his mistakes. But not Minnesota, because the Wild is simply too deep right now. It’s a VERY good problem to have, so get excited, Wild fans, because things are looking real good for the future of the franchise.

On another note, Mike Russo had an interesting story on a potential return of Ryan Carter. I love the story just because it shows that Fletcher and company run the organization the right way. The Wild paid for Carter to get surgery, then Fletcher kept his word and is giving Carter a chance to show he can still play. I love stuff like this!

The Avett Brothers bring you through the Walk today, with a little February love. This one is called "February Seven."

Wild News

Sources: Carter to attempt comeback with Wild - StarTribune.com
Awesome story. Could see Carter back soon.

Souhan: Boudreau's brilliance with Wild channels two Twin Cities greats - StarTribune.com
A nice little blast from the past by Souhan. Some good off-day reading by the Strib today.

Wild ship top prospect Alex Tuch back to Des Moines
I'd definitely expect to see him again before the end of the season.

Check how the Wild is dominating the NHL plus/minus leaderboard - StarTribune.com
Useful stat? Nah. Fun to see the Wild dominating a category? Kinda.

Tending the Fields

Iowa Wild Call-Ups Enjoying Minnesota’s Winning Locker Room " WCCO | CBS Minnesota
Where do they all fit?

Behind Enemy Lines

Tampa Bay Lightning recall Erik Condra from Syracuse Crunch - Raw Charge
Watch out, world!

On Frozen Pond

Gophers hockey on a roll with No. 2-ranked penalty kill
Oh goody (says the Badger fan)!

College hockey bracketology: Penn State’s tumble, Providence’s rise shake up bracket outlook | NCAA.com
It is bananas to me that Penn State is good already, even if they've fallen off a bit lately. UMD and Minnesota are 1 and 4 respectively.

Five finalists for 2017 Senior Goalie of the Year announced
2 goalies from one school on the girls' side of HS hockey. Impressive!

Off the Trail

Coyotes rip Seattle, Portland arena tour report, confident they’ll stay
Oh come on, a Seattle team would be cool and you know it (Seattle resident here)!

George McPhee on 'evolving' coaching search, transactions, NHL Draft (Q&A)
"Hey Claude Julien, have you ever been to the Luxor? It's like an Egyptian pyramid, but it's made of glass and filled with self loathing and false hope! You should come to Vegas and check it out!"

Huge if True: Assessing the queue for Matt Duchene
A good juicy piece of Duchene rumor mill gossip for you.

Shayne Gostisbehere keeping spirits high through healthy scratches
From Calder candidate to healthy scratch... What chaos!