Future forwards for the Wild

By Mark Schwarz

Here are the fowards who played on the team this year, except Pascal Dupuis and Christian Matte.

Matt Johnson
6-5 230 LW, The team gave up to much to get him (a 3rd rounder) but he played much better than expected. On most nights he didn’t hurt the Wild defensively when he was on the ice, he led the team in PIM’s, He was needed because the wild forwards are to small. He is a true heavyweight. He had 1g 1a 2p and 137pim’s in 50 games.

Sylvain Boulin
6-2 207 LW, Another enforcer, was picked up in the waiver draft. Was not expected to do much other then fight, he performed well when given the chance. He even scored in 3 straight games. A poor man’s Shane Churla. He had 3g 2a 5p 117pims in 41games.

Roman Simicek
6-3 210 C, a great trade for the wild, even if he doesn’t produce in the NHL, because he was traded for a big nothing named Steve mMckenna. Simicek is big but looks awful when skating, if he can improve on his first year in the NHL he should be a good 3rd liner, and see time on the power play. He will even fight if he as to. He scored 5g 10a 15p PIMs in 51 games with Pittsburgh and the wild.

Wes Walz
5-10 180 C, As the season went on, he was the Wild’s best forward, he never stopped, every play 100 percent. He scored the most short handed goal for an expansion team. He had 18g 22a 30p 37pims in 82 games.

Darby Hendrickson
6-1 195 C, A Minnesota boy who picked up his game this year with the added ice time, some nights he played like a first line center some other nights he looked like his old 3rd liner self. It will be interesting to see if Darby can improve this season, at most he will only be a 2nd line center, he brought a youthful attitude to the wild, he should score 30 goals next year. He scored the first home goal for the wild and had 5 multi-point games. He had 18g 11a 29p in 72 games.

Jim Dowd
6-1 190 C, It’s to bad Dowd was hurt for most of the season. Early in the season he lead the team in assists. He ended up with 7 goals 22 assists 29 points in 68 games.

Stacy Roast
5-9 185 C, too small and not strong enough for an everyday player, but sound defensively, will make the team next year, but the year after that, as the Wild bring up younger players, it will be hard for him to make the team. He had 7g 20a 27p and 20pims in 76 games.

Brian Bonin
5-10 165 C, another small player, looks like a gopher. He didn’t make the team and cried about it and then was called up from the minors where he was leading the IHL in points, and did nothing for the Wild. Might not be on the team if he wasn’t a former golden gopher, He had zero points and was a -2 in 7 games for the Wild.

Pavel Patera
6-1 181 C, Was picked up in a trade with Dallas. Was one of the players that were sent down in training camp because they didn’t work hard enough. Last year he was sent down and was unhappy, this year however went to Cleveland and had a great season, he had 8 goals 44 assists and 52 points in 59 games. For the Wild he had 1 goal 3 assists 4 points in 20 games. He should make the team this year if he doesn’t sign with a Russian team.

Arron Gavey
6-1 199 C, Gavey came to Minnesota with high expectations of a break out year. But that never happened as he only had 10 goals 14 assists 24 points and 52 PIMs in 75 games. He did play an aggressive game and stuck up for his teammates.

Antti Laaksonen
6-1 180 LW, Appeared in all 82 games. scored 12 goals 16 assists 28 points, Laaksonen had the Wild’s first-ever hat trick vs Vancouver, the Wild’s first shot on goal and first game winning goal. He really picked up his game with the added ice time.

Cam Stewert
5-11 195 LW, a smallish checking forward who gave all, every game, a 3rd or 4th liner at most. Should be on the team this year but will be hard pressed to make the team next year. He had 4g 9a 13p and 18pims in 54 games.

Marian Gaborik
6-1 190 LW, future All-star, Marian has all the tools to become one of the best if not the best player in the NHL, the only thing that’s holding him back is his teammates, and that will improve in a few years. Marian scored the first ever goal for the wild, and lead the team in scoring. He played in 71 games scored 18 goals 18 assists for 36 points and had 32 PIMs.

Peter Bartos
6-0 183 RW, Drafted last year as an overage player, Peter was expected to make the team last year, but never worked hard enough in training camp to earn a spot. He was sent down to Cleveland were he scored 16 goals 26 assists 42 points and 18pims in 56 games. He should make the team this year. Peter has the ability to score 20 goals if he puts his mind to it. For the Wild he had 4g 1a 5p 6pims in 13 games.

Maxim Sushinsky
5-8 165 RW, Sushinsky became a fan favorite with his exciting play, and scoring ability. Only standing 5-8 he played like he was 6-5. But he didn’t get the ice time he wanted and he and his family were having a hard time adjusting to Minnesota. It’s to bad because he was fun to watch. He had 7g 4a 11p and 29pims in 30 games.

Jeff Nielson
6-0 200 C, Nielson will become one of the better Gophers to play in the NHL. He has not found his scoring touch in the NHL but is still a hard-nosed defensive winger. He scored the fastest goal from the start of a game (:26) in wild history. Due to injury he missed 21 games, 18 because of a concussion. He scored 3 goals 8 assists 11 points in 59 games. Nielson should be healthy next year and help the wild score some goals.

Sergi Krivokrasov
5-11 195 RW, The biggest disappointment of the year for the wild. He only scored 7 goals. Some of that had to do with the injury he suffered from a cheap shot by Jason Smith, he just never got on track, Hopefully he will be traded on draft day. Krivokrasov had 7 goals 16 assists 23 points in 54 games.

The wild have a bunch of hard working 3rd and 4th liners, one super star, and a couple of decent players not in the NHL on the forward lines. This is the Wild’s weakest position, on some nights the wild’s defensemen were better then the forwards. But if the Wild can draft another super star and get some help with there later round picks from last year and this year, they should be a playoff team in 4 or 5 years years.