Wild Add Sam Steel to Finish Out Their 2022-23 Roster

The Minnesota Wild have finally made the move they’ve been hinting at all summer and signed a forward to fill out their bottom six. That player is Sam Steel, and he joined the Wild on a team-friendly $825,000 contract for one year, after spending last season with the Anaheim Ducks. Wild general manager Bill Guerin had expressed multiple times over the summer that they were looking for the right forward to join their group and there was no point rushing things.

Now with summer coming to a close, it’s safe to say the Wild held to that point and really took their time before signing Steel. Guerin still has some things to figure out roster-wise, but this is a step forward with his plan for this season. He wouldn’t sign just anyone, so Steel will definitely be feeling some pressure as the season commences.

Steel’s Career with Ducks

Steel’s NHL career spanned four seasons before he recently joined the Wild and all four of them were spent with the Ducks. He began his career in 2018-19 at the age of 18, he played in 22 games that season and scored six goals plus five assists for 11 points. That performance was enough to impress the coaching staff and he was brought into the lineup nearly full-time the following season.

In 2019-20, Steel found his scoring touch again and his spot on the roster. He played in 65 games and while he scored six goals again, he upped his assist total to 16 for 22 points. He was very solid on the power play as eight of his 22 points were while a man up. While he finished that season on a high note, the next season he dropped a bit.

Sam Steel Anaheim Ducks
Sam Steel, formerly Anaheim Ducks, currently Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Steel went from 65 games played to 42 and his points dropped from 22 to 12. He did score six goals for the third straight season but his assists fell to six as well. While he hit some bumps in the road he bounced back last season. He was back up to playing 68 games and again scored six goals but tallied 14 assists for a total of 20 points. He also found his way back onto the power play with three of those points tallied on the man advantage. The Wild will be hopeful that Steel has found his way back into the scoring circle and will improve from last season.

Steel Fits Into Wild’s Lineup

The Wild were looking for a forward to fill out their bottom six due to Jordan Greenway possibly missing out on the beginning of the season because of off-season surgery. They finally found that player in Steel who plays with a style that will blend in well with either the third or fourth line. Guerin has done an impressive job building this team so far and filling in all the holes to make it successful.

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Steel is just another piece in the puzzle that Guerin feels will improve the team that much more. He’s a player that can find his way through the opposing team’s defense and sneak past the goaltender as well. He’s not a high scorer but he is a consistent one with six goals in each of the last four seasons, while his assists bounced up and down depending on the season.

If the Wild could add another 20-point producer to their lineup, especially in the bottom six of their roster, it would be a big help. Not only would it be helpful to have more points, but Steel could be the spark they need if Greenway isn’t ready. The hard part about the third line is it already has a center but Steel could always be tried as a wing or they move someone up from the fourth line and that opening would be his to take.

Wild’s Shuffling Begins

While the Wild’s search for another forward outside of their organization may be over, the line juggling is just beginning. Of course, the top line of Kirill Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman, and Mats Zuccarello will most likely stay together, with the one possible exception being Hartman if they decide to have him center another line. The second line needs to fill the hole Kevin Fiala left behind but Steel will not be taking that spot unless he becomes a prolific scorer overnight.

Sam Steel Anaheim Ducks
Sam Steel, formerly Anaheim Ducks, currently Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The third line has already been discussed as the most likely landing spot for Steel but depending on how they move things around, he could be on the fourth line as well. Tyson Jost may be bumped up to the second line temporarily and that could make room for Steel also. However, everything depends on Marco Rossi as his spot could determine if Steel is on the third or fourth line.

The Wild clearly have a lot of line shifting to do and they’ll be making adjustments all through training camp. However, with Steel, they are one step closer to finding the right combinations and filling their roster holes. Hopefully, he’ll be the right fit and will start contributing both points and elevating his linemates to be better. He’s shown some great promise and it would be great for the Wild if he could act on it.

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