Five questions about Wild include the game of strength and the separation of the blue line

The Wild’s offseason is officially over, but preparations for the puck fall are still raging.

After another summer of change, the team will be back on the ice for first practice from Thursday bootcamp at Tria Rink in St. Paul and there is still much to learn.

From roster fights to lineup changes, Wild has to do something to prepare for opening night on October 13th against the New York Rangers. What happens during their snowboard sessions and the seven-game pre-season schedule, which begins Sunday against Stanley Cup champions Colorado at the Xcel Energy Center, should answer those questions.

Can a Russian intensify it?

Again, The special possibility is Marco Rossi He’ll try to get Wild and this could be the year he stays with the team.

For starters, the 2020 ninth overall draft comes from a solid season in the juniors, scoring 18 goals and 35 assists for 53 points in 63 NHL games. Rossi, who turns 21 on Friday, also now knows what skateboarding is like in the NHL after making his center debut in January when he appeared in two games with Wild before returning to Iowa State.

Additionally, Wild has a room on their list.

Who Can Intervene in Greenway and Merrill?

Winger Jordan Greenway and defensive man John Merrill will not be ready for the start of the season after both underwent off-season surgery for an upper body injury, their absence affecting Wilde’s upper closing streak and third defensive pairing.

Tyson Jost is expected to get the first slot filling in Greenway’s seat alongside Joel Erickson Eke and Marcus Foligno after Jost stopped off the injured Greenway late last season and Wilde liked that look. Jost, acquired in March in a deal with Avalanche, has two goals and four assists in 21 games with Wild.

As for the Blue Line, Merrill’s rebound along with Dmitriy Kulikov’s deal to Anaheim certainly elevates Kalin Addison to the top of the depth chart, but the 22-year-old still has to earn a spot in the squad. He had two goals and assists in 15 games with Wild in 2021-22 and seven more goals and 27 assists in 43 games with Iowa. Addison also has power play potential.

Who can fight for the candidate lists?

Rossi and Edison may be the most interesting candidates, but they are not the only possibilities.

Forward Nic Petan has over 150 NHL games, most recently with Vancouver, and defender Andre Suster split last season with Tampa Bay and Anaheim. Both players signed two-way contracts with Wild in July.

Dakota Mermes, who has already had a spot assignment with Wild for the past two seasons, is another option for the rear end.

Will the Brodin-Dumba breakup work?

Wild plan to tweak their defense by pairing Captain Jared Spurgeon with Jonas Prudden and putting Jake Middleton alongside Matt Domba, but will those changes click?

Brodin and Dumba were an old duo in Wild, and it can be hard to find chemistry like them. Middleton’s grit also seemed to complement Spurgeon’s wit when the two teamed up last season after Middleton arrived on the deadline to trade from San Jose.

However, it makes sense why Wild would want to experiment: Brodin and Spurgeon are the team’s best defenders while Middleton and Dumba play physical style.

Can the power game be saved?

Both special teams will get a change of camp.

Schemes will be adjusted, and Wild will test different individuals for strength play and penalty kills after costly performances last season. The power game ended mid-group (20.5%) but went 4 for 24 in a first-round playoff loss to St. Louis, while the penalty kick ranked 25th (76.1%) and conceded the third-most goals (63) in the NHL.

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