While workers at Xcel Energy Center prepared the arena for tomorrow’s Mumford & Sons concert, a smattering of skaters were on the ice today in preparation for the upcoming National Hockey League season.
With Wild Training Camp, presented by Andersen Windows, starting next week, a handful of players were going through a loose arrangement of shooting, skating and skill drills. There were veterans expecting to play a large role this season mixed with NHL hopefuls training for the Traverse City Prospects Tournament later this week.
Regulars on the ice included: goaltender Niklas Backstrom; forwards Torrey Mitchell and Kyle Brodziak; and defensemen Clayton Stoner and Nate Prosser. Second-year forward Mikael Granlund, who split time between the Wild and its minor league affiliate last season, worked on his skating and, of course, warming up his slick mitts.
As for other youngsters, prospects looking to impress in Traverse City also were on hand. After his first year of pro hockey, forward Zack Phillips was trading one-timers with top defensive prospect Mathew Dumba. Both former first-round picks are trying to make a splash in Traverse City and turn some heads amongst the Wild brass before Training Camp. Goaltending prospect Johan Gustafsson is set to make his North American professional debut with the Iowa Wild this season and was the other netminder in goal.
Nino Niederreiter, fresh off his State of Hockey debut at the club’s unveiling of the new white road sweater at the Minnesota State Fair on Sunday, was also in attendance. WildTV caught up with El Nino and he talked about the Great Minnesota Get Together. That video will be posted shortly.
After the skate, the Xcel Energy Center crew was busy covering up the ice for tomorrow’s show. Yes, it’s kind of a sad site to watch the floorboards slowly blanketing the ice surface, but have no fear, we’re only a month away from seeing the sheet and the Wild a lot more often, as the club opens the 2013-14 season at home against the Los Angeles Kings. Hockey is almost back and as Marcus Mumford sings, “I will wait…” But not for long.