We're closing in on the time of the year where it's all about prospects during the NHL season. That's right, it's World Juniors time.
For the Minnesota Wild, they will have their hands full with Liam Ohgren on the favorite Team Sweden, but other winger Riley Heidt unfortunately did not receive the call for Team Canada, and neither did Charlie Stramel for U.S.A. Another European prospect heading to the tournament is Rasmus Kumpulainen, who is spending his season with the OHL's Oshawa Generals.
The Wild's Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett recently caught up with The Athletic and discussed Heidt's snub and Kumpulainen's achievement.
“Based on their play, both certainly are deserving,” Brackett said. “They’re both producing points playing pivotal roles. The production’s there, but it’s not a decision that we’re a part of. We’re not consulted on it. We definitely expected to see both in camp, and certainly some surprise in our organization, but it doesn’t take anything away from what they’re doing, and maybe a little bit of fuel for the second half of the year and continue to prove people wrong.”
- If you want to read more about Judd Brackett's comments about some key prospects, and more: [The Athletic]
- Well, The Athletic is also saying that the Wild should be panicking right about now. Considering their current roster, the cap space, their future, and everything else. [Hockey Wilderness]
- The sunshine and rainbows were never going to last during the Wild's winning streak to start the reign of John Hynes. Reality is setting in. [Hockey Wilderness]
Off the trail...
- Connor Bedard is potentially better than people expected. So, just how is he this good this fast? [ESPN]
- Logan Cooley went from a Jr. Penguin, playing youth hockey in Pittsburgh, to being at the opening faceoff against the players he grew up idolizing. Pretty cool, and he got a warm hometown welcome. [NHL dot com]
- The NHL is actually doing something cool during All-Star Weekend. Thanks to Connor McDavid, who discussed a new skills competition format with the league, they revamped it to something much more entertaining. Just 12 skaters will participate, choose four of six events while earning points to compete on the overall leaderboard for a $1-million prize. [Sportsnet]
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