The Minnesota Wild's future will get a good look from Head Coach Mike Yeo and the team's brass tonight as the club goes with a young lineup against the St. Louis Blues in the second preseason game.
While guys like Zack Phillips, Kris Foucault and Chay Genoway will see their first preseason action, the Wild's number one goaltender, Nik Backstrom, will get his first tuneup as well.
Tonight's matchup begins a stretch of three games in three days. The Wild will debut the line of Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu and Devin Setoguchi on Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center.
The only line with extensive NHL experience for the Wild tonight will be the grinding line of Eric Nystrom, Brad Staubitz and Colton Gillies, although it's possible they are split up within the lineup. Tyler Cuma was orginally scheduled to play a second straight game, but it looks as though illness may keep him out, and Jeff Penner will take his place:
Backstrom will get the start with Matt Hackett as the backup.
What to watch for...
The headliner in the Wild lineup tonight has to be Phillips, the Wild's first rounder with the pick gained in the Brent Burns-Devin Setoguchi trade. While Phillips is a long shot to stick around with the club past the preseason, he wowed Yeo during the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City with his skills. With the absence of a lot of veterans, Phillips will be counted on to provide an offensive spark tonight.
Tonight's Blues Roster
Like Tuesday's game against the Oilers, there will be plenty of Minnesota connections in tonight's game. Native sons Jamie Langenbrunner and David Backes will be in the lineup, as will former Warroad Warrior, T.J. Oshie. Philip McRae, who was born in Minneapolis while his dad played for the North Stars, will also be in the lineup.
Forwards: Andy McDonald, Jamie Langenbrunner, Jonathan Cheechoo, Alexander Steen, Carlo Colaiacovo, Chris Porter, Matt D'Agostini, Derek Nesbitt, Philip McRae, David Backes, Jason Arnott, Anthony Nigro, Anthony Peluso, Ryan Tesink, T.J. Oshie, Brett Sonne, Tyler Shattock
Defensemen: Kevin Shattenkirk, Roman Polak, Danny Syrvet, Brett Ponich, David Shields, Mark Cundari
Goaltenders: Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak
The Wild will debut much of their new roster on Friday night when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit.