Wild 2009-10 AHL prospects update

By Shane Goudie

The Minnesota Wild currently have nine prospects with the Houston Aeros. Among them are one goaltender, three defensemen and five forwards.

Colton Gillies, LW, 1989-12-02

After spending all of 2008-09 with the Wild, much was expected of Gillies this season in the AHL. He began well, with a goal on opening night. But Gillies had to wait until December 16th to find the net again. Along with his two goals, Gillies has six assists this season. Despite the lack of offensive production, the 20-year-old forward is very solid +8, good for second best on the team. Gillies has been one of the hardest workers in Houston and should eventually see more points for his efforts.

Cody Almond, C, 1989-07-24

Almond’s rookie season has been injury-filled so far. While preparing for training camp in September, he suffered a sprained MCL. The injury caused him to miss the Traverse City Prospects Tournament and all of training camp. Almond made a rather quick recovery from the knee injury, but his return to the Houston line-up was short lived. He spent all of November and early December in the press box after undergoing wrist surgery. In the 11 games he has played this season, he has one assist. Aside from his lack of statistical production, Almond has demonstrated good character and given a full effort each game.

Petr Kalus, LW, 1987-06-29

The 2009-10 season marks the return of once highly-regarded Kalus to the Aeros. Kalus played two games with Houston last season before bolting for the KHL. Given his age of 22, this season is make or break for Kalus in the Minnesota organization. Thus far the Ostrava, Czech Republic native hasn’t shown that he is ready to be a front-line player in the AHL, much less find a roster spot in the NHL. In 22 games, Kalus has seven points and 34 penalty minutes.

Carson McMillan, RW, 1988-09-10

The Calgary Hitmen alum’s rookie season with the Aeros has gone as expected. In 24 games, McMillan has one goal and three assists. This season is nothing more than learning process for him. He should produce more as he gains more experience at the AHL level.

Matt Kassian, LW, 1986-10-28

One of the more popular Aeros, Kassian perhaps has the most limited role on the team. He leads the team with 73 penalty minutes and also with 11 fights. As his zero points and limited ice time suggests, Kassian may have reached the ceiling of his hockey career.  

Maxim Noreau, D, 1987-05-24

Now in his third year with Houston, offensively gifted Noreau is having a career year. He is on pace to eclipse his point totals of last season is one of the top scoring defensemen in the league. Through 31 games, he has eight goals and 12 assists. He has been one of the team’s leaders and is arguably the team’s MVP thus far.

Justin Falk, D, 1988-10-11

Former Spokane Chief Falk is now in his second season with the Aeros and has established himself as a fixture on the Aeros blueline. The hard-working, stay-at-home defenseman has played in 29 games this season and celebrated his first professional goal on October 3rd. The goal proved to be the game winner against the tough Manitoba Moose. He also has three assists. As usual, Falk has played well in his own end, although he currently sits at -7.

Jamie Fraser, D, 1985-11-17

Fraser was brought over from the New York Islanders organization during the off-season to provide depth at the AHL level. He has done that, but no more. He has seen playing time in 18 games so far with only one assist.

Anton Khudobin, G, 1986-05-07

Minnesota’s seventh-round choice in 2004, Khudobin proved his worth during last spring when he put the Aeros on his back and helped the team go deep into the playoffs. With momentum on his side, he won the team’s starting goalie job out of training camp and has done well since. Khudobin is among the league leaders in GAA, save percentage as well as shutouts. In the final year of his entry-level contract, the 23-year-old netminder is proving that he is a viable AHL starter and perhaps still an NHL prospect.