With negotiations between the NHL owners and players’ association making almost zero progress, and a lockout imminent as the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on September 15th, the Minnesota Wild have made a number of moves in anticipation of the work stoppage.
Specifically, they have moved nearly all their prospects to the AHL affiliate Houston Aeros, who will have an absolutely stacked roster while the doors of the Excel Energy Center are padlocked.
Budding stars Matt Hackett and Johan Larrson will turn away shots in large quantities, while defensemen Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin will make their lives a bit easier.
At the other end of the ice, wunderkind Mikael Granlund will get his first taste of American competition, while other Wild stars in waiting Charlie Coyle, Zack Philliips, and Bret Bulmer will continue to gain experience.
The Wild have not sent Jared Spurgeon to the Aeros, as he would have to clear waivers and would almost certainly get picked up by another team. Ditto Stephane Veilleux, but presumably the club is less afraid of losing him to another team and more inclined to ask him to only play in the NHL.
First-round selection Matt Dumba is still just 18 years old and is too young to play in the AHL, so he will remain with his WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels.
No one is really happy about the impending lockout, but at least the Wild are taking smart steps to ensure their young players and prospects will be getting the experience they need so they can contribute when the NHL resumes its games.