Before the players even lace the skates up tomorrow morning for the official start of training camp, the Minnesota Wild front office staff, and especially the coaching staff, is excited about the potential for this upcoming season.
Addressing the media and some lucky season ticket holders at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Friday afternoon, head coach Todd Richards as eager to mention how excited he was. "I wrote down some things as to why i think its going to be an exciting season for the Minnesota Wild."
"I think (General Manager) Chuck Fletcher and his staff did a great job getting the players we needed to fill some holes," he said.
The Wild have invited 51 players to attend this years training camp Including prospects Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, Joel Broda, and Colton Gillies, to name a few.
It could be the year of opportunity for one young centerman with center James Shepard expected to miss at least four months due to a fractured Patella.
With at least five young centerman in the Minnesota Wild system one could get their lucky chance to earn some ice time come season's start in October.
The Wild will start the season in Helsinki Finland playing two games against the Carolina Hurricanes October 7-8 and head coach Todd Richards sees it as an opportunity to start his team of right.
"I think it will build some good chemistry where you have to be with each other for eight days."
Richards mentioned that it was something he believes was missing at the start of last season and may have contributed to the team's poor start and was never really able to recover.
Along with the excitement surrounded with the team, now there is also new hope for franchise which now looks like it has one of the best young cores in the entire NHL.
Just last Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild prospects team won the Traverse City Prospects tournament. The team captured the tournament on Wednesday with a 3-1 victory over Detroit, which gave the prospects team a 4-0 record and outscored their opponents 15-7 during the tournament.
Richards added during the press conference that he is excited about the depth and talent that the team has added and even mentioned that he would be comfortable running four lines this year, an unusual phrase heard from a former defense-first franchise.
Not only did the Wild upgrade their players, Minnesota added in its coaching department.
After the resignation of Mike Ramsey, Minnesota looked to Rick Wilson, a coaching veteran in the NHL spending 16 seasons behind the bench with Dallas. He has been regarded as one of the best defensive coaches in the league with quite the resume to speak.
Wilson helped the North Dakota Fighting Sioux win the 1980 NCAA championship and spent 8 years with Prince Albert in Canada's Western Hockey league.
Minnesota also added former players Brad Bombardir, who became the Director of Player Development and Darby Henderickson as an assistant coach.
With all the excitement and changes made, its hard to not feel the success brewing for Chuck Fletcher and the team of 18,000.
With a prospect core flourishing with young talent and a good group of players locked up at the NHL level, Minnesota may quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the NHL.
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