The Minnesota Wild will host its annual Development Camp from July 12 through July 17 at Xcel Energy Center. The six days will see an expected 44 prospects come together in Minnesota for on- and off-ice activities, including two scrimmages, each open to the public.
These players, some of whom will return to their respective amateur teams, and others who will play in the Wild's organization this upcoming season, come from all different backgrounds, and carry with them different stories.
Eric Staal had visions of playing his entire NHL career for the Carolina Hurricanes.
The 31-year-old, two-time All-Star was selected by Carolina with the second pick of the 2003 Draft. In 2006, he hoisted the Stanley Cup in a Hurricanes sweater. In 2010, he was named team captain.
But last season, Staal said he realized just how difficult and rare it is for a player to only wear one jersey in the National Hockey League. Prior to the trade deadline, he was dealt to the New York Rangers, leaving a young Hurricanes roster with eyes on the future.
Alex Stalock's interest in the Minnesota Wild didn’t begin on July 1. It didn't begin in the days leading up 2016 NHL free agency during the shopping period, when teams can contact players and see if there's any mutual infatuation.
A South Saint Paul native, whose formative hockey years coincided with Minnesota losing and then regaining an NHL franchise, Stalock's interest in the Wild was bred out of nature and nurture.
Now a member of the franchise he grew up idolizing, Stalock's visions of donning a Wild sweater aren't so farfetched.
With all its chips in front of it in the weeks leading up to July 1, General Manager Chuck Fletcher sat with cards in hand, poker face and all, steadfast in not wanting to overplay said hand.
As free agency opened, and the Wild didn’t bet on its main assets, Fletcher proved his face wasn’t just a façade.
The Wild signed three players in the first hour of NHL free agency, five on the day. But the biggest move Minnesota and Fletcher may have made was the lack of a move, keeping its toes out of the trade market, which proved to be a busy one with two major moves made on June 30.
Though some may argue his tenure as Minnesota Wild head coach won't officially begin until Sept. 26 (the Wild's first preseason game), or Oct. 13 (Minnesota's regular season opener), Bruce Boudreau is undoubtedly already influencing his new team.
Boudreau, who leads all active NHL coaches in winning percentage, has brought a reputation with him to Minnesota befitting of the popular kid in the lunchroom.
He was able to lure two top assistants in Scott Stevens and John Anderson to the State of Hockey, and July 1, when free agency opened, forwards Eric Staal and Chris Stewart, who signed with Minnesota, each cited Boudreau in their respective thought processes.
If there's a player more familiar with the Minnesota Wild than newly signed forwad Chris Stewart, he's probably already on the Wild roster.
Stewart, who is a year removed from a 20-game tenure with the Wild, spent this past season with the Anaheim Ducks, under Bruce Boudreau, now the coach of the Wild.
It's a tangled webbed that has seen paths cross, but on Friday, had Stewart's return to Minnesota to an organization and city he's quite fond of.
Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher joined WildTV to recap the Wild's activity on the first day of NHL free agency.
Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher was adamant in the weeks leading up to free agency that if the Wild could add a center for the right price, it would do so.
In the first hour of free agency, Fletcher and co. got their guy, at what Fletcher said was the right price, in Eric Staal.
The Wild made three moves when the free agency period opened at 11 a.m. CT on Monday, signing Staal, forward Chris Stewart, and goaltender Alex Stalock.
Though Jason Zucker said it's hard to pin down specifically what went wrong during the 2015-16 season, he said, "There were a lot of things that I did and that happened that were unacceptable."
On Wednesday, Zucker, a restricted free agent, re-signed for two years with the Minnesota Wild, the team that drafted him, and the organization he's been a part of his entire professional career.
He also vowed to improve on his 2015-16 performance, and not turn in a repeat year.
Nate Leaman said plenty of players can score, but far fewer can score in the postseason.
But consider Minnesota Wild prospect Brandon Duhaime among that select group.
Duhaime, the Wild's fourth round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, will be one of Leaman's — the head coach of the Friars — newest pupils this season at Providence College.