If you were watching the Washington Capitals at New York Rangers re-match before switching over to the Wild game, it kind of felt like some of the frustrations in that game boiled over into our game. Mind you, we didn’t have six fights in the first five minutes, but there was definitely some chippiness in the first period. I was wondering where is this animosity by Vegas coming from, and it’s from a number of things. First off, we just have to go back to Monday night. It definitely looked like Vegas was going to come out victorious. But then the goals by Kevin Fiala, Kirill Kaprizov, and Jonas Brodin were enough to put the Golden Knights over the edge. Then when you consider that Minnesota has had their number ever since the Golden Knights joined the league, it has to be beyond frustrating. On paper, they are the better team, yet the record doesn’t show that. And that my friends has to sting.
With that chippiness in mind, I’m beginning to worry if tonight’s officials have this game under control. We’ve seen uncalled cross-checks, but then that’s been something that’s plagued the Wild from their inception. We’ve seen several fights. We’ve seen dangerous hits on players like Kaprizov along the bench, which then lead to a penalty review. However it was Kaprizov being reviewed to see whether or not he would be assessed a major penalty. Thankfully the officials got that call correct and only assessed the 2-minute minor. I also have to wonder who has gotten under the skin of Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer tonight. I have a feeling it’s the Wild’s Marcus Foligno. He got into a fight with Nic Hage that easily could have earned Foligno an instigator penalty besides the fighting major. That lack of the instigator, then set DeBoer off, earning the Golden Knights a bench minor for abuse of officials. One period down, and we’re thankfully tied 0-0, but should be in for an interesting 40 minutes.
Tonight’s second period felt like a lot of Minnesota Wild second periods. After the intensity of the first period, the second felt like a letdown. Things feel disjointed. I’m sure there are those out there that will talk about the long change, and how that can force a team to make poor changes. But that’s not the issue. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or whatever that sets in for Minnesota, but it’s 20 minutes I’d rather skip. I will say that at least these twenty minutes were a little more disciplined on both sides. We didn’t see the craziness of the first period. However, we did see the Golden Knights tally the first goal of the night. That goal coming from Chandler Stephenson. Remember that disjointedness I mentioned? Well Stephenson’s goal came from a Wild breakdown. It should come as no surprise that the breakdown came from the defensive pairing of Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin. Yes, Brodin tallied the game winning goal on Monday night, however that doesn’t make up for the gaffes that he and Dumba have been making all season. I’m not sure what’s up with this pair, but the chemistry really doesn’t seem to be there. But then I don’t want either of them stuck with Ryan Suter. Seriously, can anyone have a weaker shot from the point as a top pairing defenseman as Suter? And the crazy thing, is that ever since Dumba came back from his injury two seasons ago, his shot has seemed weaker. Again, not something you want from a defenseman. Instead of blasting a shot, it’s more like a weak push from the blueline. I guess at this point, we should be glad that the Wild are only down by one after two periods.
The third period would be the Kirill Kaprizov Show. He would score the game tying goal on a deflection off of a Mats Zuccarello shot. The goal was also assisted by the hard work of Ryan Hartman. But that wasn’t the best part of the Kaprizov Show. His second goal of the period was even better. This one essentially came off of the face off. There is truly something special about this player. Usually a player with this much offensive skill, they can be a defensive liability. However, Kaprizov can be trusted in the defensive zone. This is the kind of player that Jacques Lemaire would have loved. What I liked after the go-ahead goal, is that Minnesota continued to push. It would have been really nice if the third Wild goal could have come to fruition, because it would have created a little bit of buffer room. Unfortunately, that lack of third goal would end up to be their downfall. With under five minutes remaining in regulation, Reilly Smith would get the game tying goal. This would send the game into overtime. The game winner would come from Vegas’ Alex Pietrangelo, so Minnesota would have to be content with the single point in the standings.
I don’t know about you, but these past two games definitely had a playoff feeling. If this is a sign of things to come, I would say this year’s playoffs should be fun.
Calen Addison is making the league take notice
When you give up something good, you expect to get something good in return. Or at least that’s the hope. Like most organizations that have been around a while you have your share of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ trades. A lot of that has to do with the primary objective of the trade whether its to help a team’s situation to win now or to build for the future.
Minnesota decided to build for the future when it traded King Clancy Award winner and fan favorite Jason Zucker to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 1st round pick (that could’ve been for the 2020 or 2021 NHL draft which was the Penguins’ choice) and prospect defenseman Calen Addison. The Penguins opted to have Minnesota take its 1st rounder in this summer’s draft, so we still don’t know how that is going to turn out but one thing we are getting to know is that we may have a steal in the skilled defenseman that is Calen Addison. That is important since the return on the 1st round pick may not be as impressive considering the fact the Penguins qualified for the NHL playoffs this season.
Much was made of how Wild General Manager Bill Guerin was familiar with Addison from his time as an assistant GM with the Penguins. Whether it was just inside information or asking for a quality prospect and hoping he could take that next step to raise his game to a higher level, it looks right now rather promising for the Wild. Recently, the Hockey News stated that no other NHL prospect had improved his standing as much as Addison. It should also be noted that Matt Boldy was the 3rd best riser according to the Hockey News too.
Addison has been Iowa’s best defenseman most nights and his on-ice vision and mobility set him apart from the crowd and he produces offensively without being too much of a riverboat gambler with the puck. His smart, two-way game will remind a lot of Wild fans of Jared Spurgeon. He’s not a big player, but he doesn’t shy away from physical play yet he has the brain to be timely in his choices to join the rush or to step up to deliver a hit. In other words, he’s developing quite nicely and the Wild have quality defenseman prospect waiting to go in case any of Minnesota’s blueliners are picked up in the NHL expansion draft this summer.
Iowa Wild (13-12-4) 30pts 4th in AHL Central
12.9% Power Play (28th in the AHL)
79.8% Penalty Kill (18th in the AHL)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #40 Gabriel Dumont ~ 10G 18A = 28pts
2. #2 Calen Addison ~ 6G 14A = 20pts
3. #43 Connor Dewar ~ 12G 7A = 19pts
4. #18 Damien Giroux ~ 7G 12A = 19pts
5. #20 Gerald Mayhew ~ 8G 9A = 17pts
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #55 Cody McLeod ~ 91 PIM’s
2. #29 Keaton Thompson ~ 44 PIM’s
3. #23 Mason Shaw ~ 37 PIM’s
1. #30 Dereck Baribeau (6-1-2) 2.54GAA .914%SP
2. #92 Hunter Jones (5-9-1) 4.06GAA .871%SP 1SO
Iowa 5, Chicago 2
If there is any team that has given the Iowa Wild fits over its history it is the Chicago Wolves. While many AHL teams go through ebbs and flows due the talent their NHL parent club has available the Wolves always ice a strong team. They always seem to have a few extra aces to make sure they finish near the top of the standings year after year. Part of that is to keep the team a hot ticket no matter how good the Chicago Blackhawks may or may not be. In fact just before the arrival of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the Wolves regularly outdrew in attendance the Blackhawks when both teams played home games on the same night.
With the pandemic, the Wolves didn’t have to look far for extra aces as their NHL affiliation with the Carolina Hurricanes gave them a nice stock of decent prospects but then was augmented by having the prospects of the Nashville Predators as well. After some early season lopsided losses, the Wild would go to work on Saturday hoping to earn a win over its rival.
Iowa would get things going right away as Will Bitten scored off the rush just 30 seconds into the game off a nice pass by Brandon Duhaime. 1-0 Wild. The Wolves would answer back late in the period, on the power play as German-born Dominik Bokk sniped a shot by Robbie Beydoun, the former Wisconsin Badger making his AHL debut. Iowa would re-take the lead just about a minute later as Mitch McLain pounced on a rebound created by Nick Swaney to give the Wild a 2-1 lead going into the 1st intermission. The helper was Swaney’s 1st AHL point.
Iowa would showcase their skill as well as Mason Shaw raced into the zone before setting up Boldy for a quick shot that blazed by Connor Ingram to make it 3-1 Wild. It was Boldy’s 4th goal and 10th point in the 9 games since he joined Iowa. Chicago would then answer back as former Ohio State star David Gust got a little room and ripped a shot from the slot that beat Beydoun to cut Iowa’s lead back to one. Iowa would make it a two-goal game a few minutes later as Keaton Thompson‘s point shot was redirected by Jarrett Burton perfectly that Ingram had no chance to stop it and it was 4-2 Wild. The Wild would add another late in the period as Duhaime would score off the rush after a nice dish by Gabriel Dumont to give Iowa a 5-2 lead going into the 3rd.
The Wolves would replace Ingram with Beck Warm between the pipes. Iowa would sit back and lock things down defensively. Chicago may not have had a lot of offense, but they had plenty of fight left in their game and the game would boil over in a series of scraps. About midway through the period, a true donnybrook broke out as players paired off and started throwing down. While the penalty boxes were full, the game would roll to a 5-2 Wild victory. Beydoun had a respectable AHL debut with 25 saves. Addison had two helpers (5 SOG’s) on the night.
Wild Prospect Report:
LW – Adam Beckman (Spokane, WHL) ~ The Chiefs’ alternate captain is heating up offensively as he earned 1st star honors by netting a hat trick on 6 shots in Spokane’s 8-3 demolition of in-state rival Seattle. He had a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the contest. On Sunday, he did not fare as well as he was held scoreless despite having 6 shots on goal and went 2-for-3 on his draws in a 3-2 loss to Everett who has had the Chiefs’ number this season. Beckman has 15 goals, 24 points, 6 PIM’s and a -2 in 17 games.