Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Under 25 series. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re going player-by-player in a ranking of the top 25 Minnesota Wild players that are under the age of 25. It’s fairly simple. Enjoy!
Brock Faber has come into the Wild’s system and jumped a lot of folks in the depth chart, and our overall excitement ranking. Since being one-half of the return for Kevin Fiala from the Los Angeles Kings, the reason for the acquisition has become clearer and clearer with every appearance on the ice or in front of the media.
There is this calm and cool nature to Faber that just reeks of future captaincy stink — he was named captain of the American team at the World Juniors, after all — and to add to that nature, he’s a local lad, growing up in Maple Grove. Just every little detail about him and his game has the essence of Minnesota Wild Hockey and that is partly why we are just so excited for him and his future.
Faber doesn’t play the style of game that is easily transferrable to the stat sheet. He won’t win any scoring titles, or even lead his blue line in scoring, but he will be there no matter the game state and a dependable two-way force. The goal scoring ability is not really there — a career-high five goals in a season, when he was 15 years old — but he can make decent passes and be a power play quarterback if needed.
His ceiling isn’t as sky-high as some other defensemen, but it is just the well-rounded nature of his game that will take him to places beyond the typical non-scorer.
Roll the Tape
Again, it’s just watching Faber that makes you a fan. He is still developing and learning as that all-situations blueliner, but you can see the progress into becoming that all-around player that ends up getting the respect around the league. A future underrated defenseman at the NHL level.
It is that superiority over his opposition that earned him the title of Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year last season, despite not being close to the top in the scoring race. Faber can control the play, pushing and pulling the ice to his whim, and sometimes setting up some goals for those rare points.
I told you — Faber is a quintessential Wild defenseman. The gutso to go deep into the other team’s zone even with a player right on top of him, and to get a pass off for a forward aware enough that he will be provided the puck if he gets into the right area of the ice. It’s just the timing of his ebb and flow.
And sometimes he can shoot as well.
Faber will get his ample opportunity to become a full-time NHL player in the near future, there is no doubt about that. This year, he will be serving as captain for the Gophers, but it is still to be determined if he will turn pro after their season wraps up or not. It will be his third season there, and I am positive there is enough pressure from the Wild for Faber to make the jump and sign his contract this spring — the timing and his age just feels right.
Now, it all depends if there is a true opportunity in St. Paul. Being on the right side of the blue line really muddies up the path to play for the Wild. Jared Spurgeon is not going anywhere, and Calen Addison is just getting better and better with every season, so he should be in the picture no matter what. The over encompassing elephant in the room is Matt Dumba, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but has meant a whole lot to this team throughout the first several years of his career. If it becomes more clear through the season that the Wild and Dumba will part ways, then it makes it a whole lot easier for Faber. But as it stands right now, the Wild have done a whole lot to protect Dumba from multiple expansion drafts and try to shoot down some trade rumors. Now that won’t always be the case, but it is slowly growing and things can always change through even just a few months of the regular season.
Either way, Faber should at least be playing somewhere professionally in several months and his high-floor game will ensure that he will go places.
Hockey Wilderness 2022 Top 25 Under 25
25. Mason Shaw, C/LW
24. Sam Hentges, C/LW
23. Simon Johansson, D
22. Hunter Haight, C
21. Nikita Nesterenko, C
20. Marshall Warren, D
19. Filip Gustavsson, G
18. Mikey Milne, LW
17. Mitchell Chaffee, RW
16. Pavel Novak, RW
15. Ryan O’Rourke, D
14. Daemon Hunt, D
13. Jack Peart, D
12. Tyson Jost, C
11. Adam Beckman, LW
10. Connor Dewar, C, LW
9. Danila Yurov, RW
8. Carson Lambos, D
7. Marat Khusnutdinov, C/LW
6. Liam Öhgren, LW
5. Brock Faber, D