The Wild announced a number of roster moves today, including the re-signings of restricted free agents C David McIntyre, RW Carson McMillan and RW Jarod Palmer. The trio is among 25 players who have been reassigned to the Houston Aeros, the club’s American Hockey league affiliate.
The other players assigned to Houston are: D Drew Bagnall, C Joel Broda, D Jonas Brodin, RW Brett Bulmer, D Josh Caron, D Brian Connelly, RW Charlie Coyle, D Tyler Cuma, RW Justin Fontaine, LW Kris Foucault, D Chay Genoway, C Mikael Granlund, G Matt Hackett, D Colton Jobke, D Steven Kampfer, G Darcy Kuemper, LW Johan Larsson, D Kyle Medvec, C Zack Phillips, C Chad Rau, D Marco Scandella and LW Jason Zucker.
The club also reassigned defenseman Mathew Dumba, the Wild’s first round pick (seventh overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, to the Red Deer Rebels of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
Scandella spent the majority of last season with the Wild, showing glimpses of potential that could result in a future top-four role with Minnesota. The 22-year-old blueliner skated in 63 games with the Wild, totaling 12 points (3-9=12).
After signing with the Wild after two productive seasons at the University of Denver, Zucker skated in the club’s six final games of the year, adding two assists.
The upcoming season looks to be the first in North America for Brodin, Granlund and Larsson, as they have spent the past few seasons playing professionally in Europe. Brodin and Larsson helped Team Sweden capture gold at last winter’s World Junior Championships. Granlund was the Wild’s first round pick (ninth overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and is one of the most touted players outside of the NHL coming into the season.
Many of the assigned players have spent significant time in Houston, but this season will mark the first year of pro hockey for Coyle and Phillips. The pair led their junior team, the Saint John Sea Dogs, to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and within a game of the Memorial Cup finals.
Bulmer skated in the first nine games of the season with the Wild last year before being reassigned to his junior team, the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. The 20-year-old forward then finished the year with the Aeros, skating in six regular season games and four playoff games.
Hackett, 22, backstopped the Wild in 12 games last season and was named the NHL’s Second Star on Dec. 12. According to Elias Sports Bureau, he set NHL record for longest shutout streak to start a career at 102 minutes and 48 seconds.
After coming to the Wild in a trade with the Boston Bruins, Kampfer played in 23 games with Minnesota. The Ann Arbor, Mich., native provided sparks of offense from the blue line, adding two goals and three assists with the club.
Rau, a native of Eden Praire, scored two goals with the Wild both game winners. The 25-year-old forward had a penchant for scoring on big stages, as his first-career goal came on Hockey Day Minnesota against the Dallas Stars, while his second was against the Boston Bruins on Hockey Day in America.
McIntyre, 25, skated in seven games with the Wild, registering a goal and an assist. In 63 games in Houston, the feisty forward racked up 33 points (16-17=33).
Genoway, McMillan and Palmer all spent the majority of last season in Houston, but did see time with the Wild. Last year, Genoway made his debut in Minnesota in the final game last season and tallied one assist. McMillan played in 11 games with the Wild and scored the game-winning goal against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 24. Palmer played in six games with the Wild, scoring one goal before a concussion sidelined him and was later reassigned to Houston.
Minnesota signed Connolly in the offseason after the blueliner led the AHL in defenseman scoring with 52 points (6-46=52), splitting time between the Abbotsford Heat and Rockford IceHogs.
Foucault also made his NHL debut last season, appearing in one game as the Wild played the Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 14.
Cuma, the Wild’s first round pick (23rd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, made his NHL debut last season appearing in one game. The 22-year-old defenseman has been plagued with injuries to start his career, but will be relied upon to develop his all-around game in his third season in Houston.
Bagnall, Broda, Fontaine and Medvec spent all of last season with the Aeros. Bagnall played in 72 games with the Aeros and has skate in two games with the Wild both during the 2010-11 campaign. A four-year standout at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Fontaine made an immediate impact in his first year of pro hockey and was second on the team in scoring with 55 points (16-39=55). Broda spent his second year with Houston last season, totaling 27 points (14-14=27). After four years at the University of Vermont, Medvec played in his first season with the Aeros during the 2011-12 campaign.
Jobke joined the Aeros for two games after finishing his season with the Regina Pats of the WHL. Caron, who signed with the Wild as a free agent, played last season with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL.