All season long, the Minnesota Wild has repeated the same ideology that has led them to some success so far: Whatever it is, whoever it is, this is an organization full of Wild players that play the same way.
This mentality spurred on by head coach Dean Evason has led the team down a path to finding some diamonds on the farm, as Brandon Duhaime has been a wonder since surprisingly making the team out of training camp, and Connor Dewar has been a standout force whenever he has gotten the chance to play NHL minutes. Even someone like Mason Shaw was able to not be so obviously out of place and appear comfortable in depth minutes. Having these viable replacements has been key when the injury bug has popped up its ugly head throughout the Wild’s season.
And next, it will be Mitchell Chaffee coming to the rescue, as he will be making his NHL debut against the Montreal Canadiens on the road on Tuesday.
“It’s exciting,” Chaffee said via StarTribune. “You dream of this day. I’m finally excited it’s here, and I’m looking to go out there and make a difference.”
The Wild have made a lot of dreams come true in a short amount of time. Chaffee will be the eighth player to make their big-league debut this season, and certainly fits into the mold of a typical Minnesota player.
“Obviously, he’s put up some numbers down there,” coach Dean Evason said, “but he’s played a two-way game.”
At 24 years of age, Chaffee is still only playing his second full season of professional hockey and his rookie AHL season was still marred with some absences, as he was able to appear in just 28 games. Through 45 games this season, the Rockford, Mich. native has scored a team-high 22 goals and 37 points.
But he has earned some greater respect among the coaching staff as well. As the season progressed, he has moved up the Iowa lineup and most recently has been present on top prospect Marco Rossi’s wing.
For his debut, he will be down on the fourth line with fellow debutants, Duhaime and Dewar. What a high-energy chaotic line that will be. In turn, Nicolas Deslauriers will be lacing up for his 500th NHL appearance on a line with Joel Eriksson Ek and Nick Bjugstad. It is certainly an interesting bottom half of the forward lines, but some risks are available when playing one of the worst teams in the league.
Chaffee most likely won’t get much of a look beyond this injury-riddled week, but if he can impress, he can be in conversation for next season’s roster as this summer turns out to be another quasi transitional off-season.