You couldn’t blame Mike Yeo for smiling so much on Monday.
At the introductory presser for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Minnesota Wild head coach was asked what plans he had for his two newest players.
The question elicited a big grin.
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it already — that’s the fun part of the job,” Yeo explained. “We’ve all come in for this rookie camp and it’s the first time the coaches have been in the same room.
“We’ve all started drawing up our line combos and power play setups. There’s a lot of time between now and training camp, but the excitement and ideas of what you can do with these two guys in the lineup is there.”
The most obvious plan was to get Parise on a line with All-Star center and team captain Mikko Koivu — something Parise mentioned in today’s presser.
“[Koivu’s] arguably one of the best two-way centers in the game. I always thought that he and I would play well together. No dropping hints or anything,” Parise said, laughing. “He’s a type of player I would play well with. I think we play a similar north-south hard game.”
Yeo later told Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune that, if camp started tomorrow, Parise would indeed be on a line with Koivu and Dany Heatley.
In the same context — if training camp started tomorrow — Yeo said Suter would be paired with Jared Spurgeon, the 22-year-old rearguard that played in a career-high 70 games last year, leading all Wild defensemen in scoring with 23 point.
Spurgeon finished fifth among all Wild skaters in assists (20) and fourth in power play points, with 12, so it stands to reason he and Suter could see a lot of time together on the man advantage as well.