Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/20/13
Mike Yeo said Thursday morning that the Wild won’t be “rushing to any conclusions” when it comes to the decision-making for the handful of open spots in training camp. Well it’s a good thing there are still 13 days until opening night because the “kids” are making it awfully hard for the Wild brass. Every roster hopeful who played in Thursday night’s 4-1 exhibition win over the Winnipeg Jets had a strong game. “A lot of guys helped themselves tonight” Yeo said. Charlie Coyle battling for the No. 2 center spot scored one goal. Teenager Matt Dumba vying for one of the eight defenseman positions and potentially one inside the top six also scored. Former Gophers point-getter Erik Haula had an assist and was solid all over the ice. Mikael Granlund had an assist on Dumba’s goal and Nino Niederreiter battling for a second- or third-line spot played a big part in creating Dumba’s goal by crashing the net. Justin Fontaine hustled all night pivotal in helping cause a turnover that led to Coyle’s goal. And Kris Foucault who may not be in the conversation for a roster spot scored a goal and appeared much faster than when he made his NHL debut two years ago. “We’ve got competition this year” Yeo said Thursday morning. “There’s older players that I’m sure are looking around and saying ‘I better be ready to go’ and there’s younger players that are saying ‘There’s an opportunity for me.’ … These are big games for everybody.” One of the veterans is defenseman Clayton Stoner. He could conceivably be fighting for playing time if Dumba makes the team but the two were paired together and were stalwarts Thursday. Goalie Josh Harding in his preseason debut stopped 16 of 17 shots through two periods. Darcy Kuemper stopped all 11 shots he saw in the third period. The Wild killed seven power plays and defenseman Steve Kampfer scored a shorthanded empty-netter. The Wild’s first-liners Zach Parise Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville and No. 1 defense pair Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin should make their preseason debuts Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
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