Luke Kunin Hopes To Go From Wisconsin To Wild

© Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports NHL: NHL Draft

After a standout sophomore year with the Wisconsin Badgers, Luke Kunin turned pro and continued to turn heads this spring while playing for the AHL's Iowa Wild.


On the heels of a 22-goal season at UW, the 19-year-old team captain joined the Minnesota Wild's AHL affiliate and skated in 12 games, scoring five goals and eight points.


At 6-foot, 196 pounds, Kunin isn't the biggest guy on the ice, but he plays a hard-nosed game and appears poised for NHL success.


Kunin Nets Hat Trick In Third AHL Game


The fearless forward battles hard and was one of the most impressive Wild players during the development camp. He's also an intriguingly cheap option for a cap-strapped team with high ambitions.


After Minnesota re-signs restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter, the team will have 11 locks on the offense, leaving a couple spots up for grabs. Pending moves, Kunin will either make the team as the 12th guy or start the season in the AHL, where he will be able to play each night.


Granlund and Niederreiter are each slated for significant raises after breakout seasons. Newcomer Marcus Foligno is also set for a new contract. The other 16 roster players account for roughly $56 million of the $75 million salary cap.


Add in the $2.5 million cap hit from the Thomas Vanek buyout and the Wild have about $16.5 million to re-sign Granlund, Niederreiter, and Foligno and add another four players for the 23-man roster. 


Drafted 15th overall in 2016, Kunin will start his entry-level contract this season after officially signing with the team in March. He would bring a very manageable cap hit of $925,000 to the strong central team that has watched its division opponents bolster their lineups.


The natural center also brings the ability to play at any of the three forward positions, which is often hard than it sounds given handedness, breakouts, and comfort and awareness.


It's not all about money, though. It's about what's best for the player's development as well as the organization's long-term future.

He brings a lot of top qualities:

  • Strength
  • Wisdom
  • Character
  • Stuff
  1. Strength 
  2. Wisdom
  3. Character
  4. Stuff


Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @JMessing23.

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By Jacob Messing

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Knights Have ‘Golden’ NHL Debut

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In March they signed Brandon Wheat Kings center Reid Duke, in June they sifted through opposing rosters during the expansion draft and selected one player from each team, and later in the summer they unveiled their home jerseys.

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The wait is almost over for hockey fans.

Social media is teeming with #IsItOctoberYet, NHL training camps have started, and teams are beginning to take shape. But mid-September doesn’t just mean a new professional season; the puck is set to drop October 1 for college hockey.

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He’s played in the OHL, AHL, and ECHL, been drafted into the NHL by one team, and traded to another -- although he’s yet to play a game in the world’s best league.

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By Jacob Messing

Earlier this month, Sidney Crosby turned 30 years old, and even at that benchmark age the Pittsburgh Penguins captain still remains at the forefront of any argument about who is the best player in the world.

However, that’s not to say a new generation of budding stars won’t be entering the conversation soon.

The NHL is becoming increasingly younger, and 20-year-old phenom Connor McDavid highlights the future of the game. So, rather than compare them -- given that Crosby has 10 years on the Edmonton Oilers’ young captain -- we decided to break down the best players by age groups, those above 30 and those below.

AHL Sophomores To Watch In 2017-18

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By Jacob Messing

Late summer is typically when hockey fans ask, “Is it October yet?”

While the start of the season is still a long way off, camps begin in a month -- a time for high-end prospects and AHL players to get good, long looks from their coaches as teams push for roster spots and players seek to fulfill their NHL dreams.

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By Jacob Messing

KHL star Danis Zaripov is reportedly eyeing to play his hockey stateside after a two-year ban from the International Ice Hockey Federation for a failed drug test. Both organizations follow the policies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), resulting in Russian side AK Bars Kazan voiding Zaripov’s recently signed two-year deal.