Wild releases own WCHA preseason poll

This just in …

Admittedly, having all these WCHA preseason polls (I voted in three last month) start to get a bit redundant and silly so the Minnesota Wild organization, also chimed in.

With quite a few former WCHA players on its roster, the NHL organization (which is not as busy as usual this time of year for some reason) took time to make its own preseason poll. 

A player’s alma mater clearly affected their judgment and their greatest college rival showing up in last place (when was the last time Minnesota and North Dakota finished last in the WCHA?) showed that the players, which included Brian Connelly, Kris Fredheim, and Chad Rau, did not take it too seriously.  That is a good thing.

CC was picked to finish fourth overall.

Wednesday reading: Jaden Schwartz, Prosser, future foes, Penn State

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz, pictured,  is the No. 2 prospect in the St. Louis organization according to nhl.com, but on a deep team like the Blues, that means he may start next season in AHL Peoria. Unless, of course, he has an exceptional training camp that dislodges a proven veteran.

Either way, do not expect Jaden to stay in the minors for long.

Nate Prosser will likely be on the Wild’s NHL roster in the fourth defenseman pairing this upcoming season, according to nhl.com.

Future foes for both Air Force and Colorado College were profiled recently by Inside College Hockey. The most recent articles are about UMass-Lowell’s sophomore defenseman Zack Kamrass of Atlanta and Sacred Heart senior Ben Ketchum and Wisconsin’s Joseph LaBate, pictured.

Vermont fills out its coaching staff.  Penn State gets its second commit in seven days. UMass announced its incoming freshman class.

NHL free agency: Wild ink Connelly to two-year, two-way deal

The Wild brass continue to make smart moves including this very good depth signing. This was a smart move by former Tiger Brian Connelly, pictured in foreground, who reportedly did not seem a good fit for the Flames organization.

Tiger fans can expect Connelly to make his NHL debut and  spend a little time in St. Paul this season depending on the big club’s health.

He joins Nate Prosser and Chad Rau at the Minnesota training camp later this summer/fall.

Here is the updated list of former Tigers testing the waters of free agency as of 9a.m. MT this July 7.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):  Richard Bachman, (Dallas): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  Brett Sterling (Blues), and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

From NHL.com …

The Minnesota Wild bolstered its defensive depth late Friday night by inking defenseman Brian Connelly to a two-year, two-way deal. The move gives the Wild an added weapon from the blue line capable of contributing at the offensive end and displaying outstanding puck moving ability and skating.

The Bloomington native split time between the Abbotsford Heat and Rockford IceHogs last season of the American Hockey League. His 52 points (6-46=52) ranked second amongst defensemen in the AHL.

Connelly has played in the AHL All-Star Game the last two seasons. At last year’s AHL Skills Competition, he represented the Western Conference in the Fastest Skater Competition.

The 26-year-old has played professionally. For three seasons, all in the AHL. Before turning pro, the blueliner was a three-year standout at Colorado College. With the Tigers, he amassed 63 points (8-55=63) and was a teammate of Nate Prosser and Chad Rau.

A left-handed shot, Connelly is listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds.