When Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick looked up after surrendering his second goal of the first period Thursday night Jonas Brodin was huddled with Wild teammates celebrating his power-play goal. To Brodin's right was Jared Spurgeon to his left Charlie Coyle and between them were Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund. That's a unit of three 21-year-olds with 20-year-old Brodin and wily veteran Jared Spurgeon 23. They made some head-turning plays in training camp and at times in the Wild's first game of the season a 3-2 shootout loss to the Kings at the Xcel Energy Center. Later however the growing pains were felt when Coyle left his man unmarked and Jeff Carter scored the tying goal late in the third period. The Wild played some of their young players last season and got mixed returns. Now they're going to rely on them to take the next step. There will be good times such as Brodin's goal and bad ones such as when Coyle lost track of Carter. "That goal was a good example of that" coach Mike Yeo said. "We're close to him but that doesn't mean that you have him (covered) and these are some of the things you have to deal with." All of the young players who dressed Thursday made plays. Niederreiter fed a nice pass to Brodin on the goal and Granlund drew a late penalty. Coyle won battles along the wall to set up chances for Niederreiter. That foursome doesn't include defenseman Mathew Dumba 19 a healthy scratch for the opener and Jason Zucker 21 who's with the AHL team in Des Moines. Until more consistent play comes the Wild have to live with the occasional mistake from young players.
Wild need young players to take next step
St. Paul Pioneer Press | Oct 5