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Todd Varga


Wild Friday 2/3/2012

Last night the Wild edged the Colorado Avalanche for a 1-0 victory. The Wild have now won two of their last three, and are

holding on to eighth place in the Western Conference. They are three points in front of both the Avs and Stars, who they are coincidentally in the midst of playing consecutively. Niklas Backstrom was the unquestioned star of last night’s game, making 37 saves en route to his third shutout on the year. Mike Yeo told both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom that the number one goalie job was up for grabs, and Backs went a long way last night in securing that position. Greg Zanon scored the only goal last night. The goal came in the first period, from Dany Heatley and Kyle Brodziak. The assist was Heatley’s eighth in the last four games. Heater has really stepped up his game since Mikko Koivu went down with his shoulder injury. His line with Kyle Brodziak and Nick Johnson has been astounding the last few games. Nick Johnson continues to show the tenacity and the drive that got him to Ottawa this past weekend. Kyle Brodziak continues to put up points, and play the physical brand of hockey that the Wild need. This line will be crucial to winning tomorrow night’s game in Dallas, a place the Wild have not won in for a long, long time.

And as of this morning, that game in Dallas just got a little more interesting for Minnesota.

This morning the Minnesota Wild announced that they have acquired Erik Christensen and a conditional seventh round pick for Casey Wellman.

Christensen will wear #26, and is expected to be in the lineup in Dallas, centering a line with Darroll Powe and Carson McMillan.

From what I have seen over the years, Christensen is a good offensive minded forward. Most synopses that I have seen around the internet say he has great hands, good offensive instincts, and is good in the shoot out. These are all areas the Wild need help in. Christensen may be able to provide an upgrade at either the Center or Wing position, especially while the Wild are short Koivu, Latendresse, and Bouchard. I am anxious to see how Christensen fits in. He is familiar both Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher from his time in Pittsburgh, and he may be another player, like Nick Johnson, who can help the Wild further develop Yeo’s system.

As for Casey Wellman, he will be missed. Wellman was the first piece of the youth movement that the Wild have been in since Chuck Fletcher took control of the Wild. The college free agent put up 7 points (2G-5A) in 14 games this year. Wellman has a lot of potential, but it never really came through in Minnesota. He needs more time to develop, and with the amount of talent the Wild have waiting in the wings (no pun intended) at forward (Mikael Granlund, Zack Phillips, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Johan Larsson), Wellman probably wouldn’t have had the best chance to break through.

I was personally a big Casey Wellman fan. He has great speed, and good hands. I wish him all the best with the New York Rangers, or wherever it is he can find success in the NHL.

Thank you all for reading.

Feel free to leave comments and ask questions.

Follow me on twitter @Wild_Halo

Todd Varga


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Welcome aboard.

Looks like the Wild might get in to the PO.

Have to watch out for the Flames and the Stars though. I think the Avs are going to spiral down.

We shall see.

Saturday is going to be a good game.

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Welcome Todd

I think Christensen will be a nice fit for the Wild.

Any thoughts to why they gave away Gilies for nothing?

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Thanks for the Welcome. Gillies was not fitting with the Wild line up. He was not producing points, and was having a good energy shift maybe once every 3 games. He was very inconsistent, and could create decent scoring chances but would not come close to finishing them off. Being only 22, I think the Wild really wanted to get him through waivers to the Aeros so he could further develop, but that obviously did not work. At the end of the day, he was taking up a roster spot, and being unproductive on a team that is pushing to make the playoffs. He admitted to Tom Reid after the waiver claim that he had gave up on being a success in Minnesota, and was not trying as hard as he did at the beginning of the year, which probably expedited his departure. The Wild probably could have gotten a pick for Gillies, but I think they really wanted to put him in Houston, and not give away another high draft pick.

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I think that was a huge miscalculation by the Wild. Why wouldn't any team at the bottom of the standings pick up a 22 first round pick that all ready had NHL experience?

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