Tag: Jed Ortmeyer

Mike Yeo, Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Marek Zidlicky, Cal Clutterbuck, Devin Setoguchi

Minnesota on verge of breaking dubious franchise record


Found this little nugget in the game recap from Tuesday’s Ducks-Wild game, which Anaheim won 2-1:

Minnesota has used an NHL-high 39 players this season, one away from the team record of 40 set last season.

Look, we’ve piled on the Wild quite a bit here at PHT, mostly for good reason. They were first overall in the league as recently as Dec. 15, but now find themselves 21st overall (12th in the Western Conference, five points out of a playoff spot.)

But 39 players? By Feb. 15? That’s pretty harsh.

Even harsher is the quality of players Minnesota’s gone through. They include:

Jon DiSalvatore: A 30-year-old winger that last played in the NHL in 2006.

Jeff Taffe: Best known for marrying Wayne Gretzky’s niece, Taffe, 30, has played for six different organizations since the lockout.

Jed Ortmeyer: 33 years old, nearly had his career ended in 2006 after being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.

There’s also a laundry list of younger players you’ve never heard of, like Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, Kris Fredheim and David McIntyre.

In closing, I vow to take it easy on the Wild from here on in and actually starting cheering for them to set a franchise record. Why stop at 40? We can do 50, Minnesota. Yes we can.

Minnesota captain Koivu returns to lineup


According to ESPN 1500 Minnesota, Wild captain Mikko Koivu will return to the lineup for tonight’s contest against Northwest Division rival Vancouver.

Koivu has missed Minnesota’s last eight games — and the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa — after injuring his left shoulder on Jan. 14. The Wild have gone 3-4-1 without him in the lineup, scoring one goal or fewer in five of the eight games.

It’s expected that head coach Mike Yeo will load up his first line, putting Koivu between Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Heatley leads all Wild scorers with 17 goals this year while Setoguchi has chipped in with 10, despite missing 13 games with a knee injury.

[Setoguchi has struggled since returning from the injury and has just two goals in 11 games — things got so bad that Yeo demoted him to the third line in a 3-1 loss to Columbus on Tuesday. The hope is that Koivu’s presence can salvage what’s been a disappointing year thus far.]

“We have to make sure with Mikko coming back — he’s such an important part of the team — that we surround him the right way,” Yeo told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Putting him with Seto and Heater gives us a chance to get that line going.”

To make room for Koivu, Minnesota placed forward Jed Ortmeyer on waivers.

Who’s Warren Peters? Minnesota’s new No. 1 center, apparently

warren peters

From Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune:


For those unfamiliar with Peters (read: Everybody not in his extended family), here’s the skinny:

— 29 years old.

— Undrafted.

— 62 games of NHL experience.

— 90 games of ECHL experience.

— 472 games of AHL experience.

— Has played for the Portland Pirates, Utah Grizzles, Idaho Steelheads, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Quad City Flames, Texas Stars and Houston Aeros.

— Now centering Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi on the Wild’s top line.

Peters is one of four current Wild forwards that began the year in AHL Houston (the others are Casey Wellman, David McIntyre and Carson McMillan), which tells you how badly injuries have ravaged the team. Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Jarod Palmer are all on injured reserve.

Peters and Co. aren’t the only temporary, minor-league stopgaps the Wild have used this year. Unforgettable names like Jeff Taffe, Cody Almond, Jed Ortmeyer, Kris Fredheim and Jon DiSalvatore have all played with the big club this season, though none of them ever got to play first-line center.

Report: American-born NHLers on the rise

US Hockey AP

Interesting article from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail on the rise of American-born players in the National Hockey League. In it, Mirtle states the 2010-11 season saw 156 U.S. players play in 25 or more games — up from 101 during the 2002-03 season — which means the NHL has gone from drawing 15 percent of its players from America to a whopping 23 percent.

Why the influx of Americans? Mirtle points to a few reasons.

One, growth and exposure in non-traditional markets (and states) has created a deeper talent pool to draw from.

“Years ago, we talked about the three Ms in terms of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan as the only places where there was hockey played,” said Nashville Predators GM David Poile. “We’ve now drafted a player like Jonathan Blum from California in the first round. There are players in the NHL or Division I colleges from Florida and Texas. I think the exposure of hockey has increased so much more in the last 10 to 15 years.”

(Of note: Nashville has 10 American players this season, second only to Buffalo, with 15.)

Two, the creation of the U.S. National Team Development Program — since its inception in 1997, notable alumni have included Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler, Phil Kessel, Ryan Suter and Jimmy Howard. The NTDP might’ve reached its apex at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft when Kane and James van Riemsdyk went first and second overall, the first time in which American players were selected with the top two picks.

“That’s been really a strong point of developing elite players,” Poile said. “It’s probably not a lot different than what we used to hear about the Russian system where they’d bring all the top players from around the country to play on a national team.”

While the NTDP has been huge, Mirtle’s first point about expansion and growth into new markets is perhaps most important. This year alone there are NHLers from non-traditional “hockey states” like Nebraska (Jed Ortmeyer), Florida/Tennessee (Blake Geoffrion) and North Carolina (Jared Boll, Ben Smith).

“Once they see someone else make it from their neighbourhood or that program, kids start believing a little bit more,” Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek (from West Islip, New York) said. “They think, ‘If he can make it, why can’t I?’”