ST. PAUL, Minn. Before Zach Parise and Ryan Suter pulled on Minnesota Wild sweaters last July, before Minnesota had done everything in its power to shock the NHL by signing the two biggest free agents last offseason, there was already a bit of excitement beginning to spread.
Before the Wild became the biggest newsmakers in the league, they had been planning a more subtle emergence based on a set of prospects that rivaled any in the NHL, a group of talented players that appeared ready to burst on the stage as soon as this season.
That's still the plan in Minnesota. But now the heralded prospects will arrive under a bit less scrutiny, the timeframe for some extended because of the Wild's offseason additions.
"They're knocking on the door," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said this week, speaking about his group of prospects that have been growing together in the American Hockey League while the NHL was locked out.
From center Mikael Granlund generally considered one of the top two to t...