Erik Haula was a three-year standout with the University of Minnesota before signing with the Minnesota Wild at the end of his junior year. the Pori, Finland native made his National Hockey League debut with the Wild on Nov. 29, 2013 against the Colorado Avalanche. An offensive dynamo in college, it would take the center 17 games to score his first goal. Of course, the former Golden Gopher chose an opportune time to tally his first-career goal: Hockey Day Minnesota.
In the first period against the Dallas Stars on Jan. 18, Haula blocked a point shot and chipped the puck out of the zone. He then turned on the afterburners that U of M fans, and soon Wild fans, grew accustom to. Alone on a breakaway, he beat goaltender Kari Lehtonen low to the blocker side for the game’s first goal. Haula ended his first season with six goals, nine assists and a plus-15 rating in 46 games. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Haula scored seven points (4-3=7) in just 13 games.