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Down on the Farm: Kapla excited to be back home in the Midwest

Wisconsin native has been impressive since trade brought him to Iowa from East Coast

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- When Michael Kapla's telephone rang a couple weeks ago, he was just about to go through airport security to head back to rejoin the Binghamton Devils.

"I was at home getting ready to go back after the All-Star break and was about to go through security when my phone went off," the 24-year-old Eau Claire, Wisconsin native recalled this week.

Kapla's world shook a bit when he learned his destination would be Des Moines, not the East Coast. He had just been traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for defensemen Ryan Murphy.

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Down on the Farm: Bouramman no stranger to adversity on the ice

Defenseman has focused on honing his defensive game in the AHL this season

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- No one, including Iowa Wild Head Coach Tim Army, can blame Wild defenseman Gustav Bouramman for feeling a bit frustrated about the amount of ice time he's been getting this season.

"'Goose' has been playing very well," Army said of the smooth-skating 22-year-old Stockholm, Sweden, native. "And, he has played well even though he hasn't played a lot of minutes."

Such is the reality sometimes for American Hockey League prospects who find themselves on a team vying for a playoff spot with more seasoned players earning larger shares of the ice time than themselves.

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Down on the Farm: Bitten keeping strong family roots during rookie season

Speedy forward scored his first pro goal last month with mom and dad in the crowd

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- Two things happened when Will Bitten and his family learned he'd been traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Minnesota Wild and he was on his way to Des Moines just prior to this season.

The 20-year-old Gloucester, Ontario native called his brother, Sam, who participated in the Wild's Development Camp in July and played for Iowa Coach Tim Army in the Traverse City Prospect Tournament in September.

"He just said it was a wonderful organization and that they treat the players right," Will Bitten said. "He got to see everything. He told me about the players who were here so I knew them before I got here."

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Down on the Farm: Rookies lead Iowa resurgence

Seven first-year skaters have been a key factor in Iowa's red-hot start to the season

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- When Mason Shaw arrived last July for the Minnesota Wild development camp, he, like most rookies, had only one goal - make it to the next level.

"My goal was to work hard enough to stick with the team here [in Iowa]," said the 20-year-old Iowa Wild forward, who played three seasons for Medicine Hat in the WHL. "Now, that I've done that I just want to produce for the team and work hard every day to do that."

But Shaw's performance during the first quarter of the Wild's season, along with six other Iowa rookies, has become something more than just working hard and producing for the team. In reality, the seven rookies - Shaw, Mitch McLain, Gerry Fitzgerald, Dmitry Sokolov, Will Bitten, Louie Belpedio, and goalie Kaapo Kahkonen - have each played instrumental roles in helping the Wild to its best start of any season in franchise history.

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Down on the Farm: Liambas brings invaluable leadership to Iowa

"Bussy" already among the most respected players in AHL team's dressing room

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- If Mike Liambas has learned one thing during his hockey career, it's that nothing ever really stays the same.

"Just looking at my life, I've had to come to that conclusion," the 29-year-old Iowa Wild forward said. "I've hit rock bottom where I thought I was done playing hockey, but you just don't know what is coming next. It's a cliché but you never know what is going to happen when you go through that next door."

For Liambas, that next door has meant moving to Iowa after signing a two-year, two-way contract with Minnesota in July and becoming a father for the first time with the birth of his son, Bodhi, in September. 

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Down on the Farm: Hammond brings stability, leadership to Iowa Wild

Veteran goaltender brings 56 games of NHL experience to the crease for Wild's AHL affiliate

by Tom Witosky @ToskyAHLWild / iowawild.com

DES MOINES -- Iowa Wild goalie Andrew Hammond's work on a drill last week spoke volumes about the AHL team's new starting goalie.

Hammond, skating backward from in front of the net to behind the goal, took control of each puck shot his way, always looking forward.

Just like that drill, the 30-year-old Surrey, British Columbia native has a philosophy that has served him well during a topsy-turvy career that likely would break the resolve of many goalies. Put simply, he never looks back.

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Down on the Farm: Iowa Wild takes over TRIA Rink

Minnesota's AHL affiliate played two preseason games at NHL's club's new practice facility

by Dan Myers @DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Down on the Farm presented by Just Bare Chicken keeps tabs on the Iowa Wild all throughout the season.

ST. PAUL -- A little over one week after the Minnesota Wild played its first ever preseason game in Des Moines, Iowa, it was the Iowa Wild's turn at TRIA Rink at Treasure Island Center in downtown St. Paul.

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Down on the Farm: Lalonde recaps 2017-18 season

A disappointing end put a damper to what once looked like a bright season for Iowa

by Dan Myers @DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers chatted with Iowa Wild coach Derek Lalonde about what he liked and what he didn't in his second season with Minnesota's AHL affiliate:

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Down on the Farm: Palmquist finding his stride in Iowa

Defenseman has helped get Iowa Wild's power play on track this season

by Jennifer Schallmoser / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- Even before defenseman Zach Palmquist arrived in Des Moines back in 2015, the blueliner had been a consistent player since the beginning of his career. 

He played more than 100 games in the USHL with the Waterloo Black Hawks before attending Minnesota State University, where he registered 96 points in 160 games played during his four years. His 160 points total is tied for first in school history for points by a defenseman in the Division-I era (1996-present).

Palmquist led all Iowa defensemen in games played (69) during his rookie season in 2015-16, and heading into 2017-18, his third full season in the AHL, he ranked first in all-time games played (149) in Iowa history.

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Down on the Farm: Svedberg aims for eventual NHL return

Goaltender has been critical in Iowa's push towards its first-ever playoff berth

by Tom Witosky @toskyAHLWild / IowaWild.com

DES MOINES -- The time is now.

That's how Iowa Wild goalie Niklas Svedberg describes his challenge of getting back to the National Hockey League. At 28, he is neither the promising prospect nor the grizzled veteran, but the demanding world of professional hockey requires him to perform the best he can this season.

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