Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sheppard makes the Wild

Minnesota Wild President and General Manager Doug Risebrough today announced the National Hockey League (NHL) club has signed center James Sheppard to an Entry Level Contract.

“We’re pleased with James’ development since we drafted him in the summer of 2006 and we feel that his development will be best served by being on our club,” said Risebrough.
>> press release
A bit of a surprise here, perhaps, given Sheppard's just 19, but quite a few teams will likely take the 'audition' approach with their youngsters and hope for the sort of success Pittsburgh had with Jordan Staal last season.

Sheppard was picked ninth overall in 2006 after a 30-goal season in the QMJHL, and followed that up last season with 96 points in 56 games. He's not a big guy like Staal, however, and faces a bit of a logjam in Minnesota for a scoring-line position.

It'll be interesting to see how he fits in — and if he survives past the 10-game mark.



At 4:34 p.m., September 29, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Not really surprising. The team is looking for a center to play with Gaborik and Demitra, and Sheppard has a good combination of offensive creativity, speed, and size. Also, Sheppard will already become the 5th teenager to make the Wild in their history that I can count... Gaborik, Schultz, Bouchard, and Burns all could've been sent back to junior but the team is so confident in their coaching staff to continue to develop their players at the NHL level that if they preform, they'll make it.

At 8:06 a.m., October 01, 2007, Anonymous Ray Felix said...

As far as surviving past the 10-game mark, management was pretty adamant that Sheppard wouldn't get a contract unless they thought he would be around for at least 40 games.

Lemaire has also said that he would rather have a young player develop with the NHL team, rather than relying on a coach in a different city.


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