Gray area between

Marco Rossi’s professional overseas career begins on Saturday – his Iowa Wilds have to go on a long road trip to the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League.

But what can Vorarlberg residents expect in the tranquil town of Des Moines? LAOLA1 scout Bernd Freimüller outlines how the Minnestoa Wild minor league team presents itself on and next to the ice:

The history

The Iowa Wild have existed in their current form since 2013 when the Minnesota Wild farm team moved from Houston to Des Moines. However, there were two AHL teams there before: The Iowa Stars (Dallas) from 2005 to 2008, the following year Anaheim placed its prospects there under the name “Iowa Chops”.


No big ones, in the first five years the stars missed the playoffs. In the 18/19 season they survived at least one round, the discontinued 19/20 season they finished second in the Central Division. They finished fourth in the regular season last season, there were no playoffs due to Corona.

The city

Des Moines is the capital of the US state Iowa with a population of over 200,000. In winter, as everywhere in the Midwest, an icy wind blows through the bones, double-digit minus degrees can occur.

Even though I’ve seen all of the episodes of the TV series “The West Wing”, US politics is still a book with seven seals to me. But even I know that Des Moines is best known for its political role. Here the first primaries of the two parties for the presidential election always take place in a complicated procedure (“caucus”), which has often turned out to be trend-setting, especially with the Democrats. Barack Obama, for example, began his successful election campaign here in 2008, when he and his team cleaned the handles in order to get the necessary votes for the party congress.

The hall

The Wild play in the Wells Fargo Arena with 15,000 seats, which before Corona was occupied by an average of 6000 fans. This arena is one of 19 AHL halls that I have already visited. All I remember is that it was downtown and quite modern. It is also connected to the surrounding buildings by walkways (covered accesses) – no mistake in the icy winter.

Geographical location

The Wild are the most westerly team in the Central Division, apart from Texas and Manitoba, which is where you have to fly anyway. The closest opponent: The Rockford IceHogs with about four hours driving distance, one or two more hours away are Milwaukee and Chicago. Minneapolis with the Minnesota Wild is just under four hours away, not a long distance for regular observations.

I have already made the drive from Rockford to Des Moines, as usual in the Midwest, very desolate, as only flat landscape.

The team

One thing stands out: The Wild have a myriad of candidates for center positions. In addition to Rossi, Mason Shaw (22), Damien Giroux (23), Dominic Turgeon (25), newcomer from Grand Rapids, and Connor Dewar (22) prefer this position. In addition there is the Russian Alexander Khovanov (21), who was loaned to Kazan last season – he was also drafted as a center forward.

The Wild treat themselves to five veterans in the roster, with Wing Kyle Rau, 28, and defenseman Dakota Mermis, 27, spending the entire last season in the Taxi Squad, with Iowa unavailable. Wing Cody McLeod (37) can look back on 775 NHL games and is the only one of the five not on the Minnesota payroll.

With the Iowa Heartlanders (about two hours away), a new ECHL team is available as a reception camp, which will certainly be the first stop for the last cuts.

The greatest prospects

In addition to Rossi, grand piano Matt Boldy should of course be mentioned here. He showed no adjustment problems in transition from college last season, is considered a potential NHL sniper with a good size and a lethal shot. But he broke his ankle in the last preseason game and is out for a month or two.

Defender Calen Addison (21) is considered a top Defender talent with very good PP skills. He came from Pittsburgh via trade, and at least cost striker Jason Zucker in a three-player swap. Addison could make his way to Minneapolis sooner rather than later.

Adam Beckman (20) almost made the cut now, but the offensive wing can build on his nine games from last season and prove himself to be a very good AHL player.

Potential recall candidates

The biggest prospects are not necessarily the first contenders for a place in the NHL team, as GM Bill Guerin noted before the last cuts: “We currently have no place for players like Rossi and Boldy. With about ten minutes of ice time, they would be neither helped us. “

If there is a vacancy for a striker, Beckman could get Connor Dewar (22, fast, good hands) or Damien Giroux (21, smart) sooner or later. Typical recall players, who either play in the fourth line or watch from the stands as the 13th striker, would be the veterans Kyle Rau and Joseph Cramarossa (28), who already know this role from previous years.

The coach

At 58, Tim Army is by no means a talented coach with room for improvement – his career has been split over the years between head coaching gigs in college and assistant roles in the NHL. Guerin is very passionate about Army’s ability to make Prospects NHL-ready. One of his assistants: Nate DiCasmirro, known from his playing activities in Bozen, Jesenice, Villach and the KAC II.

In recent years, the game’s talent victories were the NHL average, which was actually also reflected in the performance of the game, especially the offensive constipation was a long-term characteristic. It’s largely up to Addison, Boldy, and Rossi to take Minnesota to the next level. Will you still get the opportunity this year?

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