3 Wild Players to Watch for in Training Camp

September is right around the corner, and the NHL regular season is fast approaching. Of course, before the 2022-23 season begins in earnest in October, the league’s preseason will bring excitement and questions about each roster. The Minnesota Wild are no exception, with plenty of players fans will have their eyes on during training camp. Here’s a look at three of the most exciting in the state of hockey.

Matthew Boldy

The Wild’s rookie sensation last season was outstanding in his first 47 NHL games. With 15 goals and 24 assists, he seemed to need no adjustment period entering the world’s best league; Matthew Boldy proved himself instantly.

It’s rare for such a young player to find instant chemistry with a superstar, but that’s what Boldy found with Kevin Fiala. They seemed to always know where the other was on the ice and executed high-level plays at high speeds. However, Fiala is now a member of the L.A. Kings, leaving Boldy to find a new running mate who can match his speed and skill with the same level of chemistry. He might get a chance to play with Kirill Kaprizov, although that could be difficult to justify as he and Mats Zuccarello seem to be inseparable on and off the ice.

Matt Boldy Minnesota Wild
Matt Boldy, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It can’t be easy for Boldy to have found instant success with a star and then watch him leave before they get an entire season together. That’s the challenge Boldy and head coach Dean Evason will face in the coming weeks, but there are worse problems to have.

Marco Rossi

If last season was Boldy’s coming-out party, this season should be Marco Rossi’s. The young center from Austria has a golden opportunity to be an impact player for the foreseeable future, and these next three seasons might prove to be the most crucial.

Rossi has a cap hit of $863,333 for the next three seasons, which could be a massive part of why the Wild remain competitive, especially if he can provide top-six production. The organization needs him to be an impact player right now, which means setting him up for success in training camp.

Related: Minnesota Wild Have to Find Spot for Marco Rossi in Roster for 2022-23

Does playing him with Kaprizov right now, facing the opposing team’s best defense, make sense? Does Evason want to try him with Boldy and pair them with an experienced forward like Marcus Foligno or Ryan Hartman?

Marco Rossi Minnesota Wild
Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

All options should be on the table, but one thing is obvious, Rossi is critical to the Wild’s plans for the next three seasons, and getting him off to a strong start in training camp will be a story worth following.

Joel Eriksson Ek

Many talked about Joel Eriksson Ek‘s breakout campaign in the 2020-21 shortened season when he scored a career-high 19 goals in 56 games. Surprisingly, few are talking about how he followed that up with 26 goals and 23 assists in 77 games in 2021-22.

Eriksson Ek has long been known as a solid defensive center, but his offensive game has been on a sharp upwards trajectory for two full seasons. If that trend continues, he might be in line to hit 30 goals for the first time in his career.

We’ll have to wait and see who his wingers will be during training camp. Will Evason give him a long enough rope between Kaprizov and Zuccarello to see if that will work, or does he try him alongside Boldy to see if there’s chemistry there?

Maybe the bigger question is, will he be used in offensive situations? Will he be deployed more on defensive zone faceoffs to allow a player like Rossi to play in the offensive zone more often? Eriksson Ek, including Foligno and Jordan Greenway, seemed like a perfect fit on the Wild’s GREEF line. However, does that hurt his ability to produce the offense expected of the team’s highest-paid center?

Joel Eriksson-Ek Minnesota Wild
Joel Eriksson-Ek, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Training camp will tell us lots about how the Wild will utilize Eriksson Ek this upcoming season. His two-way game will always be there, but it might be time to separate him from the GREEF line to unlock his offensive potential.

Overall, this training camp will be the first chance for us to get some answers to these burning questions, and all these players will be focal points throughout training camp. All Boldy, Rossi, and Eriksson Ek can do is do whatever they can in training camp to best prepare themselves and the team for the regular season, and expect fans to keep a close eye on all of them.