Wild forward Kyle Brodziak will hit a career milestone tonight, National Hockey League game No. 600, in the place where it all started. The St. Paul, Alberta native, who grew up in Vegreville just outside of Edmonton, was selected by the Oilers in the seventh round (214th overall) in the 2003.
“It doesn’t get old,” Brodziak said. “Comeback and play in front of friends and family—it’s pretty special.”
The forward was the first player-trade of Chuck Fletcher’s tenure as Wild GM, going to Minnesota along with a sixth-round selection in the 2009 Draft (Darcy Kuemper) from Edmonton in exchange for a fourth-round pick (Kyle Bigos) and fifth-round selection (Olivier Roy) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, on June 27, 2009.
“It’s kind of a weird coincidence,” Brodziak said. “But it’s something that I’m definitely proud of and I’m glad I’ll be able to do it in front of friends and family.
“I don’t even know if they know it’s going to be number 600.”
The 30-year-old has posted 96 goals and 126 assists in his career. Since coming to the Wild in 2009, he’s totaled 163 points (70-93=163) in 424 games during six seasons.
“That’s an accomplishment,” fellow Albertan Justin Fontaine said. “That’s a huge mark for him to hit. Congrats to Brodzy, he deserves it.”
During the heated playoff push, personal accomplishments often get pushed aside when the players adopt a team-first mentality. Brodziak is no different, as he didn’t realize he was creeping up on the milestone.
“Over time you definitely reflect on it, but I didn’t really find out until yesterday that it was going to be [against Edmonton],” Brodziak said.
Minnesota recalled defenseman Christian Folin from its American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild. The 24-year-old will replace injured blueliner, Jared Spurgeon, who was hit with a puck and sustained an upper-body injury against the Calgary Flames.
Folin was returned to Iowa so that he could get in more reps. Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said that he’d rather have the young blueliner get into game action, rather than sit around for weeks before seeing any playing time.
“It was a long break for me, especially with the All-Star Break, I’m not used to that,” Folin said. “It’s my first professional year, so it’s tough. In the back of my head I wanted to play games.”
Admittedly, Folin said there was some rust in his game when he first landed in Iowa, but shook it off with time and thinks he’s gotten back to where he was earlier in the year before getting scratched. He added that there’s a big difference between practice and game speed.
“The compete level,” Folin said. “For a younger guy like me, it’s tough not playing for a while.
“You can practice hard all you want, but you lose that extra edge.”
NHL.com launched an enhanced stats page (smartly calling them “enhanced” as opposed to “advanced” statistics, because using addition and division to calculate shot attempts is about as elementary as mathematics get) today. The site tracks a number of categories, like player shot-attempt percentages and scoring rates (better known as Corsi and Fenwick to those who crunch numbers with their pinkies in the air. The re-branded names are likely an attempt to have more people embracing the metrics). Fans can look at numbers league-wide or get team-centric numbers, like the Wild’s page, here. It’s a pretty in-depth page where a stat geek could get lost for hours on end. Just don’t ask Charles Barkley to visit the site.
Hockey Weekend America
Although the Wild is North of the Border, the club is still cognizant it’s Hockey Weekend in America. Today is wear your jersey day and the organization’s staffers back in Saint Paul wore their favorite sweaters to work. Two comments: Jon Ball from finance that’s terrible looking sweater; and where are all my Huskies?