Wild Signs Chase Lang to ATO

The Minnesota Wild have signed 2014 6th round draft pick Chase Lang to an amateur tryout agreement (ATO) to play with the Iowa Wild of the AHL, the team announced Friday.

Lang is making his professional debut with the Iowa Wild on Friday against the Chicago Wolves.

The 19-year-old started the season with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he struggled to ignite the offense he’d cultivated last season when he scored 25 goals and 56 points in 63 games. Through 14 games with the Hitmen he put up just two goals and seven points.

He was then traded to the Vancouver Giants, where he rekindled his scoring touch, putting up 25 goals and 56 points in 55 games.

Lang is able to join Iowa because the Giants did not make the playoffs. Their 55 standings points put them in last place in the Western Conference with the second worst record in the entire WHL.

Heading to Iowa

The 6-foot-1 forward has shown some offensive gifts in the WHL, but Iowa is hoping to get a look at his defensive ability and battle in the pro ranks. He’s starting his first pro game centering pugilist Kurtis Gabriel and grinding winger Brett Bulmer.

“He is smart two-way guy,” said Iowa coach David Cunniff. “We will see how he does playing against tougher guys down low. It’ll be a good challenge.”

He has projected as more of a smart two-way center than a guy who would enter the pro ranks and lights the league on fire. He’s still a little light, at 187 pounds, but has frequently had his awareness and ability to read the play praised. Hockey’s Future had previously noted that he is “the type of player who does a lot of things well and is defensively aware.”

Particularly encouraging was the development of his penalty kill skills last season with Calgary, a role that he continued this year with Vancouver.

Alex Petan

Also making his pro debut is winger Alex Petan, who signed an ATO earlier in the week. Petan, the WCHA Player of the Year, is lining up as a wing on Rob Bordson’s line with rookie Cristoph Bertschy on the other wing.