The Iowa Wild were eliminated from Calder Cup contention a few days ago, but it isn’t summer vacation for all their players yet. Nine members of Iowa’s roster are on their way to join the Minnesota Wild as a set of “Black Aces,” players who will practice with the club and serve as injury insurance in the playoffs.
Of course, after dropping game five on Tuesday the Wild are on the brink of elimination themselves. They’ll take on the Dallas Stars in a do-or-die matchup tomorrow night, trying to force a game seven in the first-round series.
All but Hunt have appeared in the NHL previously. The 20-year-old defenseman is in his first professional season after being selected 65th overall in 2020, and posted 11 points in 59 regular season games for Iowa.
The others are a mix of minor league veterans and top prospects. Rossi falls into the latter category, though his time in the NHL this year didn’t go well. The 2020 ninth-overall pick registered just a single assist (and no goals) in 19 games with Minnesota. While his development has been interrupted by health issues, Rossi’s inability to grab a roster spot was one of the season’s low points for the Wild.
There is at least a possibility that someone from this group does enter the lineup. According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman are both not practicing today, though their status for tomorrow’s game is unclear.