Wild Prospect Update: Jason Zucker Scores, Nick Seeler Gets A Headbutting Major & More
Posted by Nathan Wells on Tuesday, January 29, 2013
With the Minnesota Wild struggling for scoring depth through 5 games, one of the popular names tossed around for a call-up has been Houston Aeros forward Jason Zucker. The 2010 second round pick has performed well with the Aeros, scoring 36 points (17G-19A) in 39 games, and impressed fans during his six-game stint at the end of last season.
Zucker was rewarded for his effort this year by being the lone Houston representative for the AHL All-Star Game last night, which saw the Western Conference win 7-6 with 11 seconds left after the East came back from a 4-1 deficit. He scored the game's first goal on a partial breakaway when Zucker beat Niklas Svedberg on a backhand.
It was interesting to see the goal because it was set up by former Denver teammate (and current San Antonio Rampage) Drew Shore. In fact, Zucker's goal looked like one the two had at the WCHA Final Five a couple years ago.
After the jump, more on Zucker with tidbits on Nick Seeler, Johan Gustafsson, Louie Nanne and Erik Haula.
Along with Monday night's All-Star game, Zucker also participated in the skills competition on Sunday and showed off his speed. The Las Vegas native is known for his quickness yet went above and beyond when he broke the AHL record with a lap in 13.550 seconds.
Unfortunately, the record for all of one skater. Portland defenseman Chris Summers went next and had a lap of 13.324 to win the competition. It's hard to believe that despite being the second-fastest record holder, the clamor for Zucker will quiet after this weekend's performance in Providence
Seeler kicked out for head-butting Saturday
On the other end of the spectrum, 2011 fifth round pick Nick Seeler got a five minute major and game misconduct for head-butting Saturday night. Seeler, who is a freshman defenseman at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, took a run at a Bemidji State player following a UNO player getting boarded and subtlety headbutted him in the exchange. It doesn't appear that the Eden Prairie, MN native will face supplemental discipline by the WCHA, but it's something you don't get see called too often.
Outside of that, Seeler has 7 points in 23 games for the Mavericks while playing on their 2nd and 3rd pairing.
Gustafsson playing in Oddset Games
2010 6th round pick Johan Gustafsson was named to Sweden's Oddset Games roster. If you aren't familiar with the Oddset Games (aka the European Hockey Tour), it seems like a four country tournament (Czech Republic, Russia and Finland are the other 3) hosted by Sweden running from February 6-10.
Gustafsson, a goaltender currently playing for Lulea of the Swedish Elite League, is no stranger to playing internationally for Sweden. He won a gold medal in 2012 alongside fellow Wild prospects Jonas Brodin and Johan Larsson. This season Gustafsson currently has a .931 save percentage in 27 games.
Nanne returns from injury
2012 7th round pick Louie Nanne returned from an upper body injury this past weekend. He currently has 27 points (13G-14A) in 34 games for the Penticton Vees.
Haula has his 16-game point streak snapped Friday
It speaks to Erik Haula's consistency that a 16-game scoring streak can go under the radar, but that's exactly the case. The junior forward, who leads the Golden Gophers with 31 points, was held without a point for only the third time this season Friday night when Minnesota snapped their ten-game unbeaten streak against Minnesota State. The scoring streak does not include the 3 games Haula missed with a hand injury (he's played the last two weeks as a wing rather than center due to it).
The 7th round pick in 2009, however, did get two points in Saturday's 4-1 win. Haula set up Zach Budish's power play goal before getting the empty-netter to take over the team lead in points against the Mavericks (7 in 8 games). In addition, Minnesota is 7-1-3 when he scores this year and 19-2-4 over the last two.