Hockey games are off for the summer, but the business side of the NHL just had one of the busiest weeks of the year. There was the Vegas Expansion Draft, the NHL Entry Draft, schedule releases and plenty of other deals to and signings. Let’s get caught up on everything that’s happened with the Wild recently.
Olofsson signed for two years, other roster news
Earlier this week, the Wild signed defenseman Gustav Olofsson to a two-year, $1.45 million deal. The 22-year-old Olofsson was a restricted free agent.
Olofsson made his NHL debut with the Wild on Nov. 19, 2015 in Boston. He appeared in one more game that season before suiting up for 13 games and recording three assists in 2016-17. In parts of four seasons he’s spent with the Iowa Wild, he’s tallied 42 points (9 goals, 33 assists) in 120 games.
He’s a native of Sweden, 6-foot-3 and is a left-handed shot. The Wild drafted him in the second round in 2013.
Also on Monday, the Wild made qualifying offers to Kurtis Gabriel, Mikael Granlund, Steve Michalek, Zack Mitchell, Nino Niederreiter, Zach Palmquist and Mike Reilly. These restricted free agents did not receive offers from the organization: Brady Brassart, Christian Folin, Guillaume Gelinas and Alex Gudbranson.
Tuesday, general manager Chuck Fletcher announced the Wild re-signed forward Pat Cannone to a one-year, two-way contract for 2017-18 ($650,000/$225,000). The 30-year-old made his NHL debut with the Wild last December. He spent most of the season with the Iowa Wild, leading the team in points (38) and assists (29). He signed with the Wild as a free agent last July.
Wild deals Schroeder to Columbus
Forward Jordan Schroeder was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Dante Salituro last week. Schroeder is a Minnesota product from Lakeville. Vancouver drafted him in 2009, but he spent time during three seasons with the Wild. He played 88 games in Minnesota for 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists).
Salituro, 20, spent much of his time in the Ontario Hockey League. He has 282 points in five OHL seasons with Ottawa and London (2016-17).
Six prospects join Wild ranks in NHL Entry Draft
The Wild’s excitement at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft over the weekend at United Center in Chicago didn’t start until the third round. With no first- or second-round picks, Fletcher made selections in the third through seventh rounds, picking up six prospects.
3rd round, 23rd pick, 85th overall: Ivan Lodnia. A 5-foot-10, 176-pound right winger from Los Angeles. He played for the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League. The Otters won the Robertson Cup with the help of Lodnia’s 24 goals in the regular season and two more in the playoffs. His dad played hockey in Ukraine before moving to California.
4th round, 4th pick, 97th overall: Mason Shaw. A 5-foot-8, 173-pound center from Lloydminster, Alberta. Shaw was selected from the Medicine Hat Tigers in the Western Hockey League. He scored 94 points in 71 games this past year, which includes 67 assists.
4th round, 23rd pick, 116th overall: Bryce Misley. A 6-foot-1, 185-pound center from Calgary, Alberta. Misley played with the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He played in 46 games last season, scoring 26 goals and 36 assists. He’s headed to the University of Vermont to play hockey.
5th round, 23rd pick, 147th overall: Jacob Golden. A 5-foot-11, 163-pound defenseman from Toronto. Golden took his game to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. He also played 44 games for Upper Canada College in 2015-16 (16 goals, 15 assists). It’s his speed that makes him stand out from other players, according to Dan Myers.
6th round, 23rd pick, 178th overall: Andrei Svetlakov. A 6-foot, 202-pound center from Moscow, Russia. He spent some time with CSKA Moscow for 37 games this past season. The left-handed shooter scored four games and 12 assists.
7th round, 23rd pick, 209th overall: Nick Swaney. A 5-foor-10, 175-pound right winger from Lakeville, Minn. Swaney, from the State of Hockey, played for Lakeville South High School and spent the last two seasons playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks. He played 47 games in 2016-17 and scored 26 goals and 51 points. His first season in Waterloo netted 30 goals and 50 points in 54 games. He’ll start his collegiate hockey career this upcoming season as a University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog.
Bob Woods named assistant coach
The Wild named Bob Woods as a new assistant coach for the team. Woods comes to the Wild from an assistant coaching job with the Buffalo Sabres this past season. Prior to that, he was a general manager and head coach of the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League.
Woods is no stranger to working with Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. This will be their fourth stint together (2012-14 Anaheim, 2009-12 Washington, 2005-07 Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League).
He played hockey as a defenseman for 13 professional seasons.
The Wild were in need of a new assistant coach after the resignation of Scott Stevens. Other Wild assistant coaches: John Anderson, Darby Hendrickson, Bob Mason (goaltending), Jonas Plumb (video), Sean Skahan (strength and conditioning).
2017-18 schedule is set
Last Thursday ahead of the entry draft, the NHL released the schedules for next season. The Wild will be part of history right away in game one of 82 by opening the season on Oct. 5 in Detroit to face the Red Wings for the first regular-season game at the new Little Caesars Arena. It’s the new home of the Red Wings after they spent 38 years in Joe Louis Arena.
The Wild will start with three games on the road before their home opener on Oct. 14 versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. For those looking for schedule quirks, the Wild plays at Carolina in game two on Oct. 7 before getting a full four days off. Then it’s five days off after the home opener before a road-road back-to-back set on Friday/Saturday at Winnipeg and Calgary over Oct. 20-21. The Wild also had a few long breaks early in the season this past year.
A total of 15 sets of back-to-back games are on the schedule for the Wild, including eight road-road series, two home-home and five home-road. In March, they’ll play at Arizona-Colorado, at Vancouver-Edmonton and at Vegas-Arizona for three road back-to-backs that month.
The Wild host Winnipeg at 7 p.m. on Halloween. They’ll also play their traditional day-after-Thanksgiving game, hosting Colorado at 3 p.m. New Year's Eve is empty on the Wild schedule this year, though they have a home-road back-to-back series with Nashville Dec. 29-30.
The new kid on the block in the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights, will face the Wild for the first time on Nov. 30 in St. Paul. The Wild will host the Knights again on Feb. 2 before they meet in Vegas on March 16. So, plan your spring break trips now.
Amalie Arena in Tampa will host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 28.
The home regular season wraps April 2 against Edmonton. Then they hit the road for three games in California against Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose.
Game breakdowns per month:
October: 10 games (5 home, 5 road)
November: 15 games (7 home, 8 road)
December: 14 games (6 home, 8 road)
January: 11 games (7 home, 4 road)
February: 13 games (8 home, 5 road)
March: 15 games (7 home, 8 road)
April: 4 games (1 home, 3 road)
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