The Minnesota Wild’s preseason has come to a close and they’ve seen a lot of talent out of their prospects over the last couple of weeks. As the regular season is fast approaching, the Wild are fine-tuning their roster which means making some cuts. While some of those were fairly easy to make, some were quite difficult.
With the level of talent the Wild have, there will be several players they’ll be forced to send back to the American Hockey League (AHL) or the Western Hockey League (WHL) because there are no open spots on the NHL roster. Only a couple of players are able to stay put and they are Marco Rossi and Calen Addison, as both have had great stats this preseason.
While Rossi and Addison stay, everyone else will be gone despite also having good stats. Rossi and Addison earned their spots but so did some other players, the only problem is the Wild don’t have the room for them unless they elect to keep a couple of extra forwards on the roster.
Wild’s Shaw Proves His Worth
Mason Shaw is a name Wild fans have been hearing off and on since the 2017-18 season and, behind Rossi, he’s the prospect that’s stepped up the most this preseason. While it seems like he’s been around for a long time, he’s only 23 years old with many years left in his career. He’s a tough, gritty player that hasn’t contributed many points so far but he does bring value to other areas of the game.
In four games played, he scored a goal and tallied two assists for three points but he also had 10 shots on goal during the preseason. Shaw’s shot totals averaged about 2.5 per game, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but if he can keep throwing shots on net, it’s just a matter of time before they start to go in.
Shaw has one other quality that impressed everyone during the preseason; his physicality. At 5-foot-10, he’s not the biggest player in the NHL, but he does know how to throw around his 184-pound body with 12 hits in those four games. He would be a great asset on the third or fourth line, especially alongside players like Brandon Duhaime and Connor Dewar who are both talented and physical bottom-six forwards.
Wild’s Petan Shines
The next player on the list is newcomer Nic Petan, who joined the Wild organization this summer when he signed a two-year, two-way contract. Before the Wild, he was with the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks throughout seven seasons. His best season was in 2016-17 when he scored one goal and 12 assists for 13 points and took 57 shots on goal in 54 games played.
Petan didn’t take as many shots as Shaw or throw as many hits, but his defensive abilities truly shone during this preseason. In five games played he recorded a goal and two assists for three points but he also blocked six shots. With the Wild’s current goaltending situation every player that can help out defensively, especially with blocked shots will be an important piece.
The regular season is just days away and the Wild have made their final cuts. With just a few more players to go, it looks as though Petan is one of the odd ones out. However, once the injuries start to pile up as they seem to do every season, he should be one of the first players called back up to fill the open spot.
Wild’s Addison Stays
It’s not surprising to hear that defenseman Calen Addison has made the final cut to start the season with the Wild. With Jon Merrill unable to begin the campaign due to surgery he had over the summer, Addison became the perfect fill-in. He’s been ready to join the NHL for a while now, but they’ve only had room for him on the roster when someone else has been injured.
The trade of Dmitry Kulikov opened up some space for Addison to potentially stay in the lineup after Merrill comes back from his recovery, but another defenseman would have to be moved. The Wild’s top defensive options are Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Matt Dumba, Jake Middleton, Alex Goligoski, and Merrill when he’s healthy, which leaves Addison as the seventh option.
The one choice the Wild could go with is a rotation between Goligoski and Addison, similar to what they did toward the end of 2021-22. The problem with this situation is how much production he contributed to the team last season with two goals and 28 assists for 30 points. He was tied for second among defensemen for the most points and he was also second for most assists. That’s a lot of points to remove from the lineup, however, Addison could be the perfect replacement.
While Addison hasn’t come close to the 30-point mark at the NHL level, he did with the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League last season. In 43 games he scored seven goals plus 27 assists for a total of 34 points and recorded the most points amongst defensemen. He’s shown he has the potential and now he’ll have the chance to prove it with Merrill being out at least five to 10 games to start the season.
Wild Have Great Future
It’s sometimes difficult to choose who stays and goes when it comes to prospects, but that means the Wild have a great future ahead of them. With all the talented players that were able to show their abilities during the preseason, it gives fans a lot to look forward to. The amount of depth this team has at each position is quite impressive and it continues to improve each season.
The Wild didn’t have room for all their prospects at the same time, but the ones who did crack the lineup will be extremely exciting to watch. Shaw and Petan may not have made the final roster just yet but fans will get the chance to see them throughout the season when the inevitable injury or illness happens. Thankfully for the Wild, when those issues arise both Shaw and Petan are perfectly capable to fill the open roster spots and will be entertaining to watch as well.