Photo: Tyler Graovac leads the Minnesota Wild’s thin prospect depth at center. (courtesy of Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire)
If the Minnesota Wild should fail to qualify for the post-season, a lack of organizational depth is a key culprit. With Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Darcy Kuemper and Jason Zucker all graduated since the last Top 20, the depth chart looks as thin as it has been since spring 2010. Some questionable calls around the 2011 draft, plus the picks and assets traded away for Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, hampered the team’s ability to acquire elite talent. There are some promising young players, but not many from this list will be suiting up in St. Paul next season. Restocking prospect depth the team lost out on in recent years is something the Wild needs to explore.
Photo: Youngstown Phantoms forward and 2015 prospect Kyle Connor goes head-to-head with Dubuque Fighting Saints defenseman and Edmonton Oilers prospect William Lagesson this weekend (courtesy of Youngstown Phantoms/Brandon Anderson/BA Photos)
Three CHL matchups, plus an NCAA head-to-head and a USHL weekend series featuring a top 2015 prospect highlight the prospect matchups in this week’s Prospect Faceoff feature. Read more»
Photo: Rimouski Oceanic defenseman and Philadelphia Flyers prospect, Samuel Morin won a gold medal as a member of the Canadian squad competing at the 2015 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
There are no more than 10 defensemen playing in the QMJHL whose rights are owned by NHL teams; over the past two seasons, just seven were drafted, while a few others signed NHL contracts as free agents. Read more»
Photo: Erie Otters forward and 2015 prospect Connor McDavid goes head-to-head this weekend against World Junior teammate Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in a marquee OHL matchup (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images (L) and Terry Wilson/OHL Images (R))
This week’s Prospect Faceoff feature includes one of the best matchups in the OHL this season, a look at top goalies facing off against each other in the QMJHL, and two more matchups featuring key prospects for their respective organizations. We also look back at how a game turned out for a pair of talented imports in Oliver Bjorkstrand and Nikita Scherbak. Read more»
Photo: Minnesota’s Erik Haula has struggled to perform in a tough-minutes role (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon Sportswire)
The NHL’s salary cap forced Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild into a tough balancing act. On the one side are the well-paid veterans whose skill levels are established, if subject to bad luck and other kinds of decline. On the other side are the players on a first contract or an entry-level deal: the rookies and the young core. These players offer occasional glimpses of their best selves, but often disappoint with mistakes or other kinds of regression, especially when they are thrust into new roles. Mediocrity is the result when rookies fail to make the leap to consistent good play and veterans fall back a step.