Top 5: Players You Forgot Were Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild are special when it comes to players. They are known for building a core and running with a group of players for long periods of time. Almost a quarter of the players that have ever suited up for the Wild have played in at least 150 games. With the kind of dedication, does that make players harder to remember?

Number 5- Anton Khudobin

Building a career as one of the most solid backups in the league, Anton Khudobin’s NHL career started when he was drafted by the Minnesota Wild 206th overall in 2004. Splitting his first two professional seasons between the ECHL and AHL, Khudobin finally made his NHL debut on February 4, 2010. He suited up for two games before he was sent back down to the minors for the rest of the season. After starting the following season in the AHL yet again, he returned to the NHL for four more games in mid-January of 2011, though failed to hold onto a spot as Niklas Backstrom and Jose Theodore had the two NHL spots held down. At the 2011 trade deadline Khudobin was shipped to the Boston Bruins for a pair of prospects.

Number 4- Mike Rupp

Best known as part of the 2003 Stanley Cup winning New Jersey Devils squad, Mike Rupp became somewhat of a journeyman later in his career. After starting the 2012-13 lockout season with the New York Rangers, he was dealt to the Minnesota Wild just eight games into the season. Rupp played 32 games for the Wild that season scoring just four points. He started the 2013-14 season with the Wild as well, mainly serving as their 13th forward, only managing to play in 13 games. He was demoted to the AHL late in the season and would retire at the end of the year. All in all he played 45 games for the Wild and 610 NHL games overall.

Number 3- Adam Hall

One of the last journeyman enforcers in the NHL, Adam Hall played for seven different teams in his 11-year career. In the summer of 2006, Hall was traded to the New York Rangers from the Nashville Predators. After playing in 49 games for the Rangers, he was again dealt, this time to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Pascal Dupuis. Hall played in 23 games for the Wild during the 2006-07 regular season and all three playoff games. In the offseason, Hall chose to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Number 2- Ilya Bryzgalov

After his disastrous fall from grace with the Philadelphia Flyers, Bryzgalov found himself with the Edmonton Oilers early in the 2013-14 season. He played 20 games, even managing to supplant Devan Dubnyk as the starting goalie. At the trade deadline, Byrz was shipped to the Minnesota Wild for a fourth round pick, and he continued his hot play, going 7-1-3, though his lackluster playoff performance saw him get benched on favor of Darcy Kuemper. At the end of the season Bryzgalov became a free agent and signed with the Ducks midway through the 2014-15 season before retiring the following summer.

Number 1- Owen Nolan

Best known as the longest reigning captain in San Jose Sharks history, and a five year stint with the Nordiques beforehand, Owen Nolan moved around the league late in his career. A free agent in the summer of 2008, Nolan signed a two-year deal with the Minnesota Wild. His debut season in 2008-09 was great, as he posted his best numbers since the 2001-02, scoring 25 goals and 45 points in 59 games. The following season, Nolan played in 73 games, but he only managed to score 16 goals and 33 points. At the end of the season, he didn’t drawn any NHL interest and retired in early 2012 after 1,200 NHL games.

Honorable mentions

Cam Barker

Originally a third overall pick the Blackhawks in 2004, Cam Barker is regarded as one of the biggest draft busts in recent history. After floundering in Chicago for almost four seasons, a contract dispute in the summer of 2009 soured an already bitter relationship. On February 12, 2010 Barker was traded to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy. He finished the 2009-10 season with the Wild as well as playing 54 games the following season before the Wild bought out the remainder of his contract in the summer of 2011.

J.J. Daigneault 

Best known for his time with the Montreal Canadiens throughout the 1990’s where he won a Stanley Cup, J.J. Daigneault was a veteran on 898 games as the 2000-01 season rolled around. He signed with the Wild in the summer of 2000, but only played a single game for Minnesota on January 12, 2001. Daigneault spent the rest of the season with the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the IHL and retired at the end of the season.

 

 

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

photo credit: zimbio.com

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