THE WILD WIRE: FORWARD FORECASTSep 23, 2020
Before you get too far into this updated look at the Iowa Wild depth chart, please read this important two-part disclaimer:
- THIS IS SIMPLY A LIST OF FORWARDS CURRENTLY UNDER CONTRACT WHO COULD POSSIBLY PLAY IN IOWA DURING THE 2020-21 SEASON.
- THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG, ME, HOPES ALL OF THE PLAYERS LISTED BELOW MAKE THE MINNESOTA WILD ROSTER AT SOME POINT.
With that out of the way, here’s a look at who Iowa Wild fans could see at some point this season.
For reference, I’m using Cap Friendly – click here for a look at current Minnesota Wild contracts.
FORWARDS UNDER NHL CONTRACTS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
- BITTEN, WILL
- CHAFFEE, MITCHELL
- DEWAR, CONNOR
- DUHAIME, BRANDON
- DUMONT, GABRIEL **
- GIROUX, DAMIEN
- JOHNSON, LUKE **
- MAYHEW, GERRY **
- SHAW, MASON
- SOKOLOV, DMITRY
** Dumont, Johnson, and Mayhew require waivers to get to Iowa, so if they are “cut” from Minnesota’s training camp, the other 30 NHL teams get a chance to claim them before they can report to Iowa.
According to Cap Friendly, Nico Sturm is a restricted free agent. Assuming he re-signs (which is a formality in my opinion and may already be done behind the scenes) the second-year pro has a good shot to make Minnesota out of training camp, but could also see time in Iowa.
Also, current unrestricted free agents Sam Anas, Colton Beck, J.T. Brown, Mike Liambas, and Kyle Rau are eligible to sign with any club once free agency starts in October, although they could be re-signed by Minnesota.
Of the 10 names bulleted above, only Chaffee and Giroux haven’t played in Iowa yet. Both are set to enter their rookie campaigns and are expected to play a big role in Iowa’s success this season. An undrafted free agent signing in late March, Chaffee, 22, was the captain of UMass-Amherst (NCAA) last season, where he recorded 16 goals in 30 games. Giroux, 20, was drafted by Minnesota in 2018. He finished last season with 44 goals and 75 points with Saginaw in the OHL.
Not listed above are the following players:
- Adam Beckman – at 19 years of age, he has to go back to the Western Hockey League (WHL) unless he makes Minnesota out of training camp. Beckman is a 2019 draft pick and the reigning WHL Player Of The Year.
- Alexander Khovanov – has been loaned by Minnesota to Russia’s KHL, where he’s currently playing for Ak Bars Kazan. Khovanov had 99 points last season with Moncton in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was a 3rd round pick in 2018.
- Ivan Lodnia – same thing here with Lodnia, as Minnesota loaned him to the KHL. He’s playing with Dinamo Minsk, where ironically enough, former Iowa defenseman Brennan Menell signed a couple weeks ago. Lodnia, 21, played 6 games with Iowa at the end of the 2017-18 season but has otherwise competed in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
FORWARDS UNDER AHL / ECHL CONTRACTS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
- BURTON, JARRETT
- KIELLY, KAM
- MASER, JOSH
- MCLAIN, MITCH
- MCLEOD, CODY
- MYCHAN, JESSE
Wild fans should know plenty about McLain and McLeod at this point, but it was definitely nice to get them re-upped this summer, in my opinion. Both players bring size, grit and leadership – they’re well-liked by their teammates and know their role within the organization.
With free agent signings still a few weeks away, it’s probably not a good time to start projecting out the forward lines. But once we have more clarity on the missing pieces of the roster, I’ll get some projections laid out in a future blog.
As far as a timeline goes, let’s just take this at face value for a moment:
- Minnesota opens training camp in mid-November
- Iowa opens training camp in late November
- Regular season for both NHL & AHL starts early December
Now, I think the above is a long shot, but these are the general start dates we have right now.
Regardless, Iowa’s camp will feature some other players as well – guys the Allen Americans (ECHL) have signed and a few tryout invitees. Those names, at this time, are still TBD, but it’s important to note.
As mentioned above, NHL free agency begins in October after the Stanley Cup is awarded. At that point, teams can sign unrestricted free agents to their respective organizations. Last summer, the most notable forward additions who had an impact in Iowa were Johnson and Dumont. We’ll see which free agents Minnesota inks this time around.
As for defensemen and goaltenders, look for a breakdown in a future blog.
- Wild Joe Radio