Before the puck was dropped for the Minnesota Wild’s game against the Edmonton Oilers on the road, the team announced a move that could prove to be really interesting in the coming days.
The Wild recalled forward Sammy Walker from the AHL, a player that has lit the league on fire since signing his first professional contract and has played well enough to deserve a look.
The Edina, Minn. native was the captain of the University of Minnesota Gophers for his last three years in college and after graduating at the age of 23, decided to stay close to home and sign with the Wild. Since then, he has been able to bolster a nice little pipeline of forwards the team has suddenly created.
In his first 21 games of professional hockey in the AHL, Walker has scored 11 goals and 22 points, leading all first-year AHLers in points and is tied for first in goals. That is certainly one way to introduce yourself to the NHL fan base.
It is undetermined if this is a long-term call-up or just a moment to get his feet wet, but the Wild could certainly use any scoring talent and Walker can at least provide a little bit of that in a depth role. We’ll see what he does at the NHL, but this signing has already been more than worth it to inject a 23-year-old forward into the Wild’s system for next to nothing.
Compare Walker’s acquisition to the much more hyped signing of his teammate Ben Meyers, and right now, it looks like the Wild is getting the better of the deal. We all clamored for Meyers to stay in Minnesota, but looking back and seeing that the center is not even able to hold a steady position on a injury-ridden Colorado Avalanche and has scored just five points in 10 AHL games — Walker is having a much better season for our favorite team.
If Walker does see regular time, we can envision him taking over for Nic Petan on a line with Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy — since the latter has been stuck in the mud at 5-on-5 and the lack of available talent to boost the young phenom is evident. But we do at least know that he will make his NHL debut on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Let the hype train roll.
And if it doesn’t work out, then, well at least the Wild have a very good piece for the system and he’s still young as hell. College free agents have a ceiling of becoming someone like Tyler Bozak — which is not a very high ceiling — but can still be an integral part to a very good hockey team. Let’s see if this works out and if he sticks around.