ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild entered the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 11 players on the roster who hadn't played a single playoff game in the NHL.
Among those 11 are three rookies, all of whom played big minutes and important roles for the Wild in its Game 1, 2-1 overtime loss to the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
Minnesota boasts a pair of rookies among its top-six forwards, plus a 19-year old rookie and a pair of 23-year-olds on its top-four defensive pairings. Four of those five have played major roles for the Wild this season.
Defenseman Jonas Brodin is the headliner of the bunch, a 19-year-old Calder Trophy candidate who skated a team rookie record 34:20 in Game 1.
"I've got total confidence in this kid," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "Seeing him go out over and over again, we've talked about it many times this year, but you have to be impressed to see this kid go into Chicago and perform in a playoff game like that. … It shows the composure and the mental makeup he has."