Finland has garnered a well-deserved reputation for developing goaltenders in recent years. The top five goalies currently playing in Finland are not likely to match the career achievements of players like Pekka Rinne or Tuukka Rask but instead are long-range projects capable of one day being competent NHL starters or backups. Read more»
The Wild’s NCAA prospects form the heart of the team’s developmental system, yet perhaps the team’s best assets are playing in professional leagues in Europe this season. College players have been central to Chuck Fletcher’s developmental approach – perhaps because he himself is a college man – with half of the Spring Top 20 coming out of NCAA programs.
The Minnesota Wild‘s struggles this season cost head coach Mike Yeo his job, but a bigger problem than his decision-making threatens the Wild’s future success. The prospect pool lacks star quality. Though there has been plenty of trade babble, young stars and old come at premium prices. Rather than having a budding home-grown star waiting in the wings, the Wild’s recent run of below-average drafting has meant little flexibility for Chuck Fletcher, as well as an AHL team mired at the bottom of the standings.
Now past the midpoint of the 2015-16 season, a relatively healthy and whole Minnesota Wild team is cooling of late. Offense is down, shots for are down, shots against are up, and points have been lost in the NHL’s new 3-on-3 overtime format. The Wild has dropped four in a row while the rival Chicago Blackhawks are on a 12-game winning streak. Read more»
When Toronto Maple Leafs‘ prospect Kasperi Kapanen jokingly pantomimed throwing a fictitious monkey off his back after scoring his first goal of the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship for Finland — the seventh goal in what would be an 8-3 win over Slovakia in Group B play — it was a bit amusing. Read more»