I’m alone in the stands at Xcel Energy Center right now, and I’m looking at what will closely resemble the team that the Minnesota Wild will be taking to Finland on Thursday night.
First, Pierre-Marc Bouchard is one of the players out there. Todd Richards started off practice by welcoming him back, which was followed by stick-tapping from the entire team. “Butch” is the only skater in a charcoal grey jersey, which obviously means “do not hit unless you want to spend the rest of your career in Siberia.”
Now then, there are five players that are still here that could be considered “question marks,” or guys that were fighting for roster spots. They are forwards Matt Kassian and Casey Wellman, and defensemen Drew Bagnall, Justin Falk and Marco Scandella.
Although we don’t have official word, that likely means everybody who is not on the ice has been sent to Houston. Probably the biggest surprises are Robbie Earl and Nate Prosser. Earl saw a lot of time up here last year, and was one of the best players early in training camp. Prosser was solid in preseason games, but it appears that they want him to get more seasoning in Houston.
The most surprising name has to be Kassian. The rugged winger has turned some heads with his willingness to stick up for teammates and drop the gloves. He’s also shown some offensive skills, getting a couple chances in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia. Stay tuned to more news about today’s roster moves on Wild.com, where we’ll have feedback from Head Coach Todd Richards and General Manager Chuck Fletcher.