Apparently, Minnesota Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher wasn’t blowing smoke when he said the Minnesota Wild would hit the college free agent market hard. For the second time in two days, the Wild has signed a college free agent.
Prior to Fletcher taking over, the Wild had signed a total of four college free agents in its existence. It has now added two in a week.
Elk River native and Colorado College senior defenseman Nate Prosser
has signed an entry-level contract with the Wild just two days after University of Massachusetts sophomore Casey Wellman joined the club. Prosser signed his contract at the Wild offices this morning, and then caught a flight to join his new team in Nashville, where both he and Wellman will wait to make their National Hockey League debuts. He will watch the game tonight, and then join the team on the ice for tomorrow’s morning skate in Columbus. He will remain with the Wild for the rest of the season.
Like Wellman, Prosser joins an NHL team just days after his college team was eliminated from the postseason.
“Words cannot describe this feeling,” said Prosser of signing with the team he grew up rooting for. “I’ve always grown up watching Minnesota sports teams, especially the Wild. Going down to Xcel Energy Center and being at those games, they were so unbelievable to watch. To be a part of this organization is an unbelievable feeling right now.”
Prosser’s senior season with the Tigers was his best, as he posted four goals and 24 assists while playing all 39 of his team’s games. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder finished his career with 12 goals and 52 assists in 137 career games.
Being the WCHA’s second-highest scoring defenseman this season, combined with his size and toughness, Prosser was contacted by many NHL teams since Sunday.
“Minnesota was the clear cut number one team that I wanted to play for,” he said, admitting that the week was a whirlwind of activity for him and his family. “It’s my hometown team. The facility is unreal. The fans are awesome here. It’s just an organization that I wanted to be a part of and it seems to be the right fit for me.”
Prosser is known as one of the grittier players in the WCHA, willing to mix it up physically and throw around some trash talk as well. “Grit” is a word Fletcher has thrown around often when talking about the type of players he targets.
“He’s a guy who works hard to give us a spark physically,” Tigers captain Mike Testwuide told the Colorado Springs Gazette last month. “He’ll do anything for the team.”
Prosser was a two-time All Conference selection with Elk River, and played in two State Tournaments. After leaving high school, he spent two seasons with the Sioux Falls Stampede. He was later named to the Stampede’s “All Decade” Team.
Prosser will wear #39 for the Wild, ironically the same number worn by defenseman Travis Roche, the first college free agent to sign and play for the Wild.