Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/24/13

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Jason Zucker, drafted in the second round by the Minnesota Wild poses for a portrait during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Tuesday will be the final day in training camp for perhaps as many as 20 Wild players. “I want to make sure we get as close to our [opening night] group as possible” coach Mike Yeo said after the Wild improved to 3-1 in the preseason Monday with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. “We might have a couple more decisions to make. But it’s time to really focus in and zero in on our group.” Two youngsters who will undoubtedly survive Tuesday morning’s mass cutdown will be Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter. Zucker 21 in his first game since straining his groin in the preseason opener scored the shootout winner assisted on Keith Ballard’s third-period tying goal and most impressively caught Yeo’s eye by hustling to beat out an icing to force a late power play that extended into overtime. “He has moments in these games where he’s able to create chances able to draw penalties and that’s the kind of player he is. And that’s huge” Yeo said. “I didn’t like his first period. I thought that he got stronger in the second period and in the third period he changed the game.” Niederreiter 21 the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft got a look on the right side with checking-line forwards Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak. If Zucker and Charlie Coyle wind up as Dany Heatley’s linemates Niederreiter had to show the Wild brass that he can play a third-line role if he has any shot to make the team. Niederreiter known more for his scoring had five hits often came away from board battles with the puck and is getting stronger without the puck every game Yeo said. Defenseman Matt Dumba 19 had a tough night. It started on his second shift when he turned the puck over and was forced to take a holding penalty. He screened goalie Josh Harding on Columbus’ goal and he had a nightmarish second period where he looked rattled. Yeo met with Dumba during the second intermission and told him “What I’m really looking forward to is how you respond this period. I didn’t like his first two periods at all and I really liked his third period. Given the way he responded it shows a lot of maturity.”
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