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Dalpe Among Roster Cut Survivors

Forward takes aim at roster spot as regular season looms

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Zac Dalpe - Training Camp 13

Wild forward Zac Dalpe looks to join Minnesota lineup

Zac Dalpe discusses life on the bubble during training camp

  • 02:03 •

MENDOTA HEIGHTS -- Another batch of roster moves has moved the Minnesota Wild closer to what could be its opening night roster.

The Wild practiced at St. Thomas Ice Arena on Wednesday, down a few players from Tuesday night when it lost 2-0 to the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center in Denver.

Minnesota assigned forwards Kurtis Gabriel, Jordan Schroeder and Alex Tuch and defenseman Hunter Warner to the Iowa Wild and placed forward Tyler Graovac on waivers. Graovac will also be assigned to Iowa on Thursday if he clears waivers.

That left the Wild with 25 healthy players on the training camp roster, including 14 forwards, eight defensemen and three goaltenders. 

If the Wild assigns goaltender Alex Stalock to Iowa, which could happen before the regular season begins, Minnesota will only need to make one more roster move to get to the 23-man limit, barring any trades or other additions.

Among the forward group sticking around, at least for now, is Zac Dalpe, who finished last season with the Wild after a series of injuries marred a portion of his regular season in Iowa. 

Dalpe has an offensive pedigree, having scored 16 goals in just 44 games with Rochester of the American Hockey League as recently as two years ago. He also provides the Wild with flexibility in that he can play center and wing and can move up and down the lineup, something coach Bruce Boudreau said he appreciates. 

"It's his experience," Boudreau said. "If he has to play a fourth-line role, he's done it before."

Dalpe has been on the roster bubble a lot in his professional career, so the pressure of trying to win a job with the big club is nothing new. He has played in 119 NHL games over six years in his career but has started the season with the parent club in only half of those seasons.

"I think the fortunate part about being in my position is that I've been in this situation for the past seven years," Dalpe said. "My whole NHL professional career, it's been like this. So I just have to make sure I control what I can, which is good on game days, practice days and off days, and go from there."

With a new coaching staff in place, Dalpe said he viewed camp this season as a fresh start with an opportunity to show what he could do and how he has evolved over the course of his career.

"Just show them what I can do as far as working hard. I'm more of a utility guy, I think, as my career's progressed. [I] take care of the defensive side of the puck and get stronger, and I think I did that over the summer," Dalpe said. "I think I showed that in the games I've been playing in."

Christoph Bertschy has also left a positive impression in camp and has survived the first few rounds of roster cuts. He could get an opportunity to play in the preseason finale on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets in an effort to win a job in Minnesota.

"He's a young guy that keeps getting a little bit better each day," Boudreau said. "He blocks shots, he plays the price. Another guy that can play a fourth-line role and give you some minutes."

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