A young National Hockey League defenseman sounds like he has a very good shot of ending up on a brand new team sooner rather than later.
According to a report from Minnesota Wild insider Mike Russo the Wild currently have 22 of their 23 roster sports for next season already pencilled in and that has left a significant log jam for the 23rd and final spot on the Wild's National Hockey League roster. Although officially the Wild only have 21 one way contracted players, Russo believes that popular young center Joel Eriksson Ek is a lock for the 22nd spot on the roster.
The two players the Wild would love to see claim that final spot on the roster are likely Jordan Greenway or Luke Kunin as both young men project to be players that will fill the ranks of the Wild's line up for many years to come. That being said though they are not the only players vying for that spot on the roster and will in fact be getting a great deal of competition from established NHL veteran Matt Read.
The Wild signed the 32 year old veteran late in the month of July to a one year contract, a deal that came off the heels of him playing just 19 games at the NHL level for the Philadelphia Flyers last season. Read spent the majority of his time last season playing in the American Hockey League with the Leigh Valley Phantoms but it seems like the Wild brought him in with the expectation that he could legitimately make the full time roster.
As coach Bruce Boudreau told me, Read’s fighting for his NHL life, so he’s expecting him to put on quite a showing in camp. Assistant GM Tom Kurvers likes Read’s competitiveness and smarts.
That's 3 players and just a single roster spot, and while the Wild could in theory begin the season without two of Kunin, Read or Greenway on their roster the far more likely scenario is that one of their current players on a one way deal gets shipped out of town. In fact according to Russo the Wild have already made attempts to do exactly that and it sounds like one of their young defensemen will be the odd man out.
Russo reports that the Wild have attempted to trade 23 year old defenseman Gustav Olofsson although at this time it does not sound like they have had any takers for the former 2nd round draft choice. Olofsoon is coming off a 41 game season with the Wild in the 2017 - 2018 NHL regular season, by far the most experience of his NHL career, and had a decent showing for himself. In 41 games he recorded no goals and 8 assists for 8 total points and posted a plus minus rating of 0.
In spite of a trade failing to materialize it seems the Wild may still look to make room by moving Olofsson. The young defenseman could be placed on waivers for the purpose of sending him down to the AHL, but there is a real risk that he will be claimed by a rival NHL franchises. It may be a risk the Wild will be willing to take if training camp goes the way they expect it to.
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