The Minnesota Wild announced more cuts to their training camp roster Friday afternoon, sending down five players to the AHL training camp in Iowa.
Heading to Des Moines are forwards Damien Giroux, Vladislav Firstov, Sam Hentges, Michael Milne, and goaltender Hunter Jones.
When it comes to Giroux, Firstov, Hentges, and Jones, we more or less expected this. They all got their opportunity at training camp and appeared in one or two preseason games, but they were all destined for Iowa. Especially considering the added depth of center Sam Steel in the summer and the development we have seen from other AHL talent like Mason Shaw and Mitchell Chaffee — those two are just above these three on the depth chart, no matter what.
For Milne, it’s still a little bit of a mystery where he is going to spend his 2022-23 season. Because of him being 20 years old (even though he was just drafted a couple months ago) he is eligible to play in the AHL this season. But, he is also eligible to return to the WHL’s Winnipeg Ice — who are loaded with some of the best junior players on the continent — and can pursue a championship there. Both options are still open, even if he is going to be attending Iowa training camp, but it is something to look out for. He’s an exciting enough winger for us to keep at least a couple tabs on him.
Minnesota now has 40 players at training camp, but some names will eventually be scratched as we get through a couple more preseason exhibition games. Nick Swaney, Steven Fogarty, Joseph Cramarossa, and Brandon Baddock, are some forwards that should get the axe in the coming days. Wile Ryan O’Rourke, Dakota Mermis, Simon Johansson, and Daemon Hunt, are blueliners that will get sent down as well.
These remaining players are most likely either veterans that the Wild know they can rely on to play some preseason games surrounded by NHL talent, or young players that they just want to see more and give more of an opportunity to, before developing elsewhere.
The Wild continue preseason on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks in Milwaukee.