By Michael Russo
OK, I’m back. The Wild trimmed its roster to 32 this morning by cutting seven players. The roster was at 38, then went back up to 39 with the recall of Jon DiSalvatore for last night’s game.
DiSalvatore, Tyler Cuma, Justin Falk, Petr Kalus, Anton Khudobin, Wade Dubielewicz and Duncan Milroy were let go, bringing it down to 32. Got it?????????
Dubielewicz and Milroy are on 24-hour waivers and can be claimed or cleared by 11 a.m. Wednesday. DiSalvatore already cleared waivers last week, so he doesn’t have to be put on again. Cuma was sent back to junior. Kalus, Falk and Khudobin didn’t require waivers.
Roster is really at 31 because Cody Almond, who skated today in full gear, is rehabbing a sprained MCL. He’ll soon be sent to Houston.
A maximum NHL roster is 23 players (not including those on injured reserve).
Marco Scandella remains. He’s earned the right to stay (best D last night), but it would seem doubtful he makes the team. Right now, the last defenseman spot is between John Scott and Jaime Sifers, and if Shane Hnidy’s not healthy by Opening Night, maybe Scott and Sifers both stick temporarily.
Same goes with the forwards. Right now, dinged up are Koivu, Brunette, Sheppard, Bouchard, Boogaard, Weller and Pouliot (that we know of). The Wild so far has kept Danny Irmen, Matt Kassian, Nathan Smith, Andy Hilbert and Robbie Earl. If the regular’s are not healthy Opening Night, maybe one or two of those guys remain (Irmen being the clearcut frontrunner there).
Earl, by the way, has been cleared to finally play and will get in probably Thursday against St. Louis or Friday in Chicago.
But the Wild is keeping so many extra bodies because of the amount of injuries. The team needs guys to play the back-to-backs coming up. Afterward, you can bet many of the forwards listed above will be sent down.
As for Cuma, he’s going to be a good defenseman, but he barely played hockey last season and it showed in recent days. The Wild wants him to get back to Ottawa, be a regular, play for Canada in the world juniors and come back next camp ready to turn pro. He just wasn’t ready now.
Scandella has been impressive all camp, but at the end of the day, the Wild probably send him back to his junior team, Val-d’Or, as well. The trial period I mentioned for Cuma the other day could also be used for Scandella, but it still would seem unlikely. But like I said, he has had a very good camp and has impressed all the organization’s important people.
That’s it for now. A look ahead, a Cal Clutterbuck feature in Wednesday’s paper. I also had lunch with Kim Johnsson today for a big Johnsson story to appear likely Saturday. This is Johnsson’s fourth season in Minnesota, and he’s such a private, quiet guy, there’s never really been a good, meaty profile of him in the Twin Cities. I hope to do that (Brent Burns and Nick Schultz were gold today talking about Johnsson).
As for the injuries, even Todd Richards has no clue who will be on the ice tomorrow. Koivu should be. Brunette still looks like it’ll take some time. He wishes he pulled the chute a little earlier than he did. Basically, he compensated for the repaired right knee, and now his entire left side of the body is dinged up. He’ll be OK though. It’s Andrew Brunette.
Marian Gaborik looked like he had a fine debut for the Rangers last night. Boy, he looks odd in a different uniform than Minnesota’s. Also, bad news for Chicago, but Adam Burish tore his ACL during that collision Sunday with Benoit Pouliot. He’ll miss six months.