| Defenseman Erik Reitz appeared in the Wild’s final five games of the regular season before returning to Houston for an Aeros playoff run. |
Before we get to the Minnesota Wild’s latest signings of forward Matt Foy and defenseman Erik Reitz, let’s stop, inhale deeply, and look back at the last three weeks during the State of Hockey.
On June 24th, hours after re-signing Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Doug Risebrough pulled the trigger on the biggest trade in Wild history, acquiring Pavol Demitra from Los Angeles for Patrick O’Sullivan and the 17th overall pick in that day’s NHL Entry Draft.
Playmaking sniper: checked off the list.
Exactly one week later, Risebrough and Assistant General Manager Tom Lynn worked the phones at Wild headquarters for 12 hours until they landed free agents Mark Parrish, Keith Carney and Kim Johnsson.
Goal scoring power forward, stay-at-home bruising leader, and a fluid offensive defenseman: checked off the list.
Three days later, hours after three young free agents were added to bolster the organization’s farm system, the worries of the State of Hockey legion were erased when the team announced the re-signing of Marian Gaborik to a three-year deal.
The franchise’s all-time leading scorer: checked off the list.
The next day, the club picked up one more player off the free agent list, inking Branko Radivojevic to a contract.
A high-energy role player: checked off the list.
The Wild brass then began locking up the young players that could be institutions at the Xcel Energy Center for years to come, signing Derek Boogaard, Brent Burns and Pascal Dupuis over the last week.
On Friday, the Wild announced the signings of Foy and Reitz, who agreed to one-year contracts.
A finalized roster for Opening Night on October 5 against Colorado: checked off the list, pending the expected signing of Mikko Koivu next week.
Aside from Koivu and possibly a few more players that will most likely spend next season with the Houston Aeros, the Wild has its team. The line combinations, the defensive pairings, the healthy scratches, the starting goaltender – well, maybe not the starting goaltender – are the only matters left to figure out.
Reitz was recalled from the Houston Aeros at the end of the 2005-2006 regular season and played in the final five Wild games, the first NHL action of his career. He was held without a point, but he was able to use his game time to showcase his hard-nosed defensive game. His ice time increased with each game he played, including a season-high 16:01 in the finale at Dallas.
Prior to joining the Wild, Reitz registered 28 points on five goals and 23 assists in 78 AHL games with Houston.
Foy was a surprise addition to the Wild roster at the conclusion of last year’s training camp. After a solid training camp, the high-energy winger played 19 games, picking up two goals and three assists. Both of his goals came in a 6-0 trouncing of the Vancouver Canucks on October 12.
Despite a reassignment to Houston on November 25, Foy had impressed Wild management. He continued his strong play finishing sixth on the Aeros with 40 points (15-25=40) despite playing in only 51 games. Foy scored five goals in the AHL playoffs, which put him in a tie for the team lead.