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  • Four Wild Players Playing At World Championships This Year

    Image courtesy of © David Gonzales-USA TODAY Sports
    Thomas Williams

    The IIHF World Championships are starting later this week and while we do still have playoffs to watch and dream about our Minnesota Wild being involved in the second round one day, we do get to see some of our favorite players on the ice over in Czechia.

    Four Wild players will represent their respective countries through the tournament: Matt Boldy for USA, Mats Zuccarello for Norway, Marco Rossi for Austria, and David Spacek for the hometown Czechia. Brock Faber was most likely going to be involved had he not been playing the last two months with fractured ribs.

    For our money, the most interesting potential stretch of the group is Rossi. Just like every time he represents Austria, he will need to be one of the offensive leaders and now on the international stage. Can he take his very, very good rookie season and head into the offseason with a very good tournament performance? If he can build on that, then we should get really excited for just what he can do next season.

    That's Wild

    • Towards the end of the season, Wild head coach John Hynes preferred a top-heavy lineup with all of his skill in the top two lines and then just to figure it out from there. By doing this, and if he continues, it might just help the team find the holes in their lineup. [Hockey Wilderness]
    • A Q&A with prospect Danila Yurov on why he is staying in the KHL for another season and when he wants to be in Minnesota. [The Athletic]

    Off the trail...

    • Conn Smythe Watch: We have seen some stellar performances so far in these playoffs. Who should take home the playoff MVP trophy? [ESPN]
    • The Toronto Maple Leafs are out in the first round yet again, and now, where do they stand? [Sportsnet]

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    Yurov seems like a pretty smart kid. There's been players like Nishushkin who were promising young players that didn't majorly succeed at the NHL level while they were young. Radulov perhaps as an example of a player who came in hot and ended up back in the KHL. Podkolzin is one who's struggling now.

    Yurov will be able to prepare for high expectations and enjoy being a winner in Magnitogorsk. He'll have a pretty clear shot at jumping right into the Wild's new look lineup for a year with #97 on a top line and PP. 

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    We still have CHL players to cheer for, Kalem Parker for Moose Jaw, and Rasmus Kumpulainen for Oshawa. These are in their league finals. 

    Kalem Parker isn't a guy who puts up stunning numbers on the backend. He was only a 6th round pick last year, and he looks like he was an overage pick. He got traded to Moose Jaw this year and played far better. 

    He's an RHS defender, and is currently 6' 192. That's only about 8 lbs. short of where he needs to be. Can he make the N? Maybe, he'll have to fight Masters for it. And, he is yet to be signed. I'd think he'd be worth a flier. 



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    Sheldon Keefe is the 11th head coach let go this season. I'd still recommend trying to get him to come to this organization. I'm not suggesting he'd have to be head coach, or he could be and Heinzy moves into the front office in an executive position. 

    Keefe's got a different set of eyes that are outside of Guerin's sight. I think he may be able to help with Guerin's blind spots. I also believe that Keefe aligns more with Brackett type players, and can bring them to another level. 

    One shortcoming the Leafs had was defensively. While they could put up points, they lacked the commitment to a 200' game in their star players. I think you'd get an up tempo style with Keefe, but there would still be a 200' commitment from the players if he were to coach. 

    If he was in the front office, perhaps even temporarily, I think he would be a good sounding board for Guerin. I'm not sure about the particulars, but if Toronto is letting him exit the organization, which fired sounds like, he is still under contract with them. Would a front office role mean Toronto had to pay his full extension? I also think that he'd help in the area of player development. 

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