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  • Wild sign Gophers captain Sammy Walker


    It was rumored for a few days but finally made official. Announced by the team on Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild have signed center Sammy Walker to a two-year entry-level contract.

    The 23-year-old was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning all the way back in 2017, but he remained on the University of Minnesota Gophers long enough to forego signing with them and reach free agency. Walker became an unrestricted free agent on August 15 after not signing a rookie deal with the Lightning.

    After wrapping up his high school career in Edina, Walker headed to the USHL where he played just 17 games for the Sioux City Musketeers in the 2017-18 season, before heading off to play some college hockey. He spent four years as a Gopher — three of those with the captaincy — putting up 112 points in 144 games played. Never leading the team in scoring but he might lead the team in energy expelled.

    In your first glimpse of Walker on the ice, you might already determine that he is Wild-esque, the way he goes into the zone with only physicality on his mind and wanting to run any opponent over if they have possession. He’s just a pack of batteries strapped to a hockey stick, like so many other members of this team, and it’s evident on this goal he scored last year by slamming his whole body into the net.

    Yeah, we love him.

    Walker is projected to be down in Iowa with the AHL team, but depending on how quickly he can start producing at the professional level and general impressions, we might see him shuffle his way to the front of the line of the NHL team needs some replacements. Assuming that Marco Rossi makes the Wild roster out of training camp, the top-line center position in Iowa will be up for grabs and Walker might end up taking it.

    Not a world-changing signing but there’s nothing better than getting a Minnesota lad in the system of his hometown team and seeing where it goes from here.

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