With the big club already circulating the same excuses about needing to be better just two games into the 2019-20 season, perhaps its the right time to dig a bit deeper and look at the Minnesota Wild’s (hopefully brighter) future. Normally, after post-game articles I post a variety of reports to allow you to stay up to date as to how Minnesota’s prospects are doing. So I decided just to let this portion stand by itself.
As Wild General Manager Bill Guerin becomes more familiar with the franchise and even though the team in St. Paul is probably causing some headaches, at least many of the prospects appear to be showing promise. The Wild seem to be re-stocking the prospect cupboard after years of limited returns as previous regimes traded away draft picks trying to help the big club win now. Most of the Wild’s college-bound prospects wrapped up their pre-season exhibition games this weekend but most of its junior and minor league players are already in the midst of their respective seasons.
Iowa Wild Report:
Iowa 3, Rockford 2
Sometimes its not always about how you start but its more about how you finish. With 8,540 in attendance at Des Moines’ Wells Fargo Center they would be treated to a heckuva season opener. After a scoreless 1st period, the Ice Hogs would break the stalemate Matthew Highmore struck shorthanded to give Rockford a 1-0 lead going into the 3rd period. Iowa would score just 34 seconds into the 3rd period as newcomer Gabriel Dumont lit the lamp. The Ice Hogs would answer right back about two minutes later as Dylan Sikura scored to take back the lead. Iowa would then respond with a quick strike of their own as Gerald Mayhew got the crowd on their feet with his first tally of the season. The game appeared to be destined for overtime, but a late power play would give the Wild an opportunity for the go-ahead goal and J.T. Brown found the twine behind Kevin Lankinen with just 16 seconds left in regulation. Iowa would skate away with the 3-2 victory on the strength of 24 saves from Kaapo Kahkonen.
Iowa 5, Milwaukee 2
The Wild eliminated Milwaukee in the first round of the AHL playoffs a season ago and the two clubs always seem to have spirited games against one another. Milwaukee goaltender Troy Grosenick‘s night ended quickly as a collision near the goal had him being helped by the athletic trainers forcing the Admirals to put Connor Ingram between the pipes. The Admirals would strike first as Steve Santini ripped a shot by Kaapo Kahkonen. Iowa would answer back just 15 seconds later as former Providence Friar Brandon Duhaime scored his first professional goal as he fired a laser top shelf over the shoulder of Ingram. Shortly after Iowa tied the game, the Admirals’ Anthony Richard would skate hard into the goal post that required him to be helped off the ice. The stalemate would last through the rest of the 1st and mid-way through the 2nd period when Iowa would take the lead with a power play tally by Dumont as he swept up the rebound off Sam Anas‘ shot. 2-1 Wild. Iowa would add to its lead a few minutes later as former Brainerd Warriors’ star Mitch McLain lights the lamp on a backhander after a nice dish off the rush by Mayhew. 3-1 Wild. Iowa continued to pour it on as Mayhew scored on a one-timer from the slot to give the Wild a 4-1 lead going into the 2nd intermission. Tempers would flare over mid-way through the 3rd period as McLain would tangle with Milwaukee’s Jarred Tinordi after a big hit was put on Duhaime that had laboring a bit. Milwaukee would cut the lead to two on Miikka Salomaki‘s goal. Iowa would then bury an empty netter from Will Bitten to seal a 5-2 victory. Kahkonen had 15 saves in the win. Mayhew finished with a goal and 3 helpers on the evening.
Wild Prospect Report:
C – Damien Giroux (Saginaw, OHL) ~ the versatile center had a goal and an assist which earned him 1st star honors in the Spirit’s 4-2 victory over Erie on Friday night. On Sunday, Giroux had a shorthanded goal with 2 shots and went 7-for-18 on his draws in Saginaw’s 4-3 loss to Oshawa. Giroux has 7 goals, 11 points, and -1 in 8 games.
D – Fedor Gordeev (Guelph, OHL) ~ the lanky defenseman had an assist and two shots on goal in Guelph’s 4-3 overtime loss to Flint. He then had 3 shots on goal on Sunday in the Storm’s 5-3 win over Sarnia. Gordeev has 2 assists and is a -1 in 5 games.
G – Hunter Jones (Peterborough, OHL) ~ the 6’4″ goaltender is off to a good start as he had 25 saves in the Pete’s 4-3 win over Sault Ste. Marie on Sunday. Jones is 3-0 on the season with a 2.76 goals against average and an .910% save percentage.
RW – Shawn Boudrias (Cape Breton, QMJHL) ~ the big power forward had a monster night with a hat trick and two helpers in the Screaming Eagles’ 7-2 rout of Baie-Comeau. The winger continued his hot start on Saturday by burying another goal in Cape Breton’s 6-3 win over Chicoutimi. Boudrias has 7 goals, 11 points, 7 PIM’s and is +4 in 6 games.
C – Alexander Khovanov (Moncton, QMJHL) ~ the skilled but feisty Russian had two helpers and was 8-for-16 on his draws in Moncton’s 6-2 win over Rouyn-Noranda. He followed up that effort with another helper and 6 penalty minutes in a 2-1 win over Val ‘d Or on Saturday. Khovanov has 3 goals, 8 points, 15 PIM’s and is a +4 in 4 games.
LW – Adam Beckman (Spokane, WHL) ~ the skilled winger had 2 helpers and 5 shots on goal in Spokane’s 5-1 rout of in-state rival Seattle on Saturday night. On Sunday, he had a goal and a helper in Spokane’s 4-3 loss to Everett. Beckman has 2 goals, 11 points, 2 PIM’s and is a +5 in 6 games.
LW – Vladislav Firstov (UConn, H-East) ~ the freshman registered his first assist as a Huskie on Saturday night while playing on UConn’s 2nd line in a 3-3 tie with in-state rival Sacred Heart.
F – Nikita Nesterenko (Chilliwack, BCHL) ~ the Brown University-commit is off to a good start playing Jr. A hockey. The skilled forward has a goal, 9 points, 11 PIM’s in 9 games.
D – Simon Johansson (Djugardens, SHL) ~ the more offensive-inclined defenseman is also in his first stint in Sweden’s top league is making his presence felt. The Stockholm-native has a goal, 3 points, 6 PIM’s and is a +3 in 6 games.
C – Sam Hentges (St. Cloud State, NCHC) ~ the sophomore is centering St. Cloud State’s top line and had an assist in the Huskies 4-2 win over Alberta in exhibition play on Sunday.
C – Bryce Misley (Vermont, H-East) ~ the junior center had a goal and an assist in Vermont’s 6-1 rout of Guelph this weekend in exhibition play.
RW – Nick Swaney (Minnesota-Duluth, NCHC) ~ the junior winger had a goal in Minnesota-Duluth’s 5-3 exhibition loss to Alberta on Saturday.
LW – Jack McBain (Boston College, H-East) ~ the sophomore had a goal and two shots on goal in Boston College’s 4-2 victory over New Brunswick on Saturday.
C – Matt Boldy (Boston College, H-East) ~ Minnesota’s top pick from this summer still has to wait before he registers his first official college point, but he had a goal in Boston College’s 4-2 win over New Brunswick.
D – Filip Johansson (Leksands IF, SHL) ~ the former 1st rounder is developing his game in Sweden’s top league but points remain elusive for him. Johansson has no points, 2 PIM’s and is a -2 in 8 games.
LW – Kirill Kaprizov (CSKA Moscow, KHL) ~ the Wild’s most closely followed prospect continues to light the lamp as he had a goal and an assist in CSKA’s 6-1 rout of Dinamo Riga on Saturday. Kaprizov has 10 goals, 18 points, 2 PIM’s and is a +11 in 14 games.