State of Hockey Homecoming?
All is quiet on the roster tweaking for the time being. All eyes have shifted to the Wild development camp which opened yesterday and runs through Sunday.
Although it does appear that the Wild roster is set for now, there is still the very real possibility that once the dust settles on some of the bigger deals elsewhere, there may be an opportunity or two for Fenton to explore.
There are two names that we have heard at least tied to the Wild in rumors and both make a lot of sense for more than just a few reasons. They are Nick Bjugstad and Justin Faulk.
Nick Bjugstad's name has surfaced with the Wild and Canadiens as possible destinations. The former Blaine High School and 2010 Mr. Hockey award winner would be a welcome addition for the Wild at 6'6" and a right shot center they so desperately need.
Justin Faulk, the South St. Paul and former UMD Bulldog would be a great addition on the Wild right defense should either Matt Dumba or Jared Spurgeon be moved in a deal to add a a top flight scorer.
The other factor involved with both of these players is that they are Minnesotans. Being the State of Hockey, the Chuck Fletcher regime really missed the boat on numerous occasions to capitalize on homegrown talent in the draft.
Adding either one or both of these players could do more than just help the team on the ice but also off the ice in the local hockey community as well.
Speaking of young talent, the Wild development camp is well underway in St. Paul. Dmitry Sokolov is high on the list of prospects to watch as he has been a prolific goal scorer at every level he has ever played.
We all know the every team can always use guys that can score, but the Wild really lack that finisher on the Wing and if Sokolov could find his way onto the roster in the Fall, he could just be the scoring threat the Wild have been missing.
There are many players to be keeping close tabs on, as all of the eight 2018 draft picks are here, along with Ivan Lodnia, Mason Shaw, Bryce Misely, Nick Swaney, and Jacob Golden from the 2017 Wild draft class.
Former Gophers Tyler Sheehy and goalie Matt Robson are camp invitees, along with UMD National Championship winning goaltender and Grand Rapids own Hunter Shepard as well.
The Wild need an infusion of youth into their lineup. The stale veteran lineup that has gotten the Wild to six straight playoffs has done nothing once the lights come on for real in the post season.
Every other team in the league is funneling their young players into the lineup annually, yet the Wild seemingly choose to go the proven veteran route almost exclusively. Rarely if ever giving their younger players any kind of significant role for an extended period of time.
Yes the youth will make mistakes, we all know that but the game is a game of mistakes and with youth comes speed and creativity that can create mistakes for Wild opponents just the same. And youthful exuberance can breathe life into veterans that all too often become complacent.
Development camp is the beginning for some of these guys to show that they are committed to one day wearing the Wild jersey and playing full time on Xcel Energy Center ice.
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