By Michael Russo
Left wing Stephane Veilleux’s career in Minnesota has come to an end. The tennis officienado will get to play plenty of it after signing a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent this afternoon.
Veilleux will be reunited with former linemate Wes Walz, an assistant coach with the Lightning.
The 2001 third-round pick by the Wild scored 43 goals and 90 points in 361 games (fifth all-time) over six seasons in Minnesota.
UPDATE FROM TUESDAY’S DEVELOPMENT CAMP PRACTICE FROM STAR TRIB SPORTS INTERN NATE TAYLOR:
As I stood outside the Minnesota Wild locker room waiting for the players to come off the ice in the first day of the Wild development camp, everyone was wondering where Petr Kalus was. The 22-year-old did not practice during the first day of the Wild’s development camp.
So as every player stepped into the locker room, everyone was waiting to see if Kalus would appear. The short answer was no. But 10 minutes later, I found Kalus in the deep corner of the locker room in street clothes, almost as if he didn’t want to be seen.
Kalus talked to me for a little bit and said he didn’t practice today because he was sick. Still, you could tell he is eager to get back on the ice for the Wild. He said he expects to be participating Tuesday or Wednesday.
I also talked to Tyler Cuma and Nick Leddy about their first experiences back on the ice. For Cuma, he is coming off surgery and says his left knee is finally starting to feel good. Leddy is back on the Xcel Energy Center ice for the first time since his Eden Prairie team won the state title.
Overall the mood was good for the first day of camp. Players seemed to be happy back on the ice and the pace of the practice was not too rough, but at least guys like Cuma and Leddy are playing hockey again. There will be more detail in my Wild Notebook in Tuesday’s Star Tribune.
Also coming out today, it appears fans are happy with the Wild, at least as it relates to their home arena. In a recent survey by ESPN The Magazine, the Wild gives fans the “Best Stadium Experience” in the NHL. According to the magazine, the Xcel Energy Center is the Ultimate Crib in the Ultimate Standings 2009 list. The Wild ranks second overall for Stadium Experience in the field of all 122 major league sports franchises among NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB.