The Minnesota Wild have been growing their prospect pool for a long time. Over the past few seasons, they have drafted highly talented players such as Jesper Wallstedt, Marco Rossi, Matt Boldy, and more. However, on May 30, 2019, the Wild acquired the rights to a player who may be more beneficial to the organization than many fans expect.
Fedor Gordeev was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was playing for the Flint Firebirds in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) at the time of his draft. Gordeev was never an exceptionally high-scoring player. Instead, he specialized in using his height to his advantage. This style of play carried over to his professional career.
Gordeev signed with the organization after he was traded to the Wild in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick. He spent one season with the Wild’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild, before he ended up on the brand new ECHL club, the Iowa Heartlanders. This season, he has 13 points in 42 games with the Heartlanders.
Struggles in the Heartland
The Heartlanders have not been having the best season. Due to their constantly fluctuating roster, the goaltending situation for the team has been a constant issue. To make matters worse, the defense has been less-than-stellar. Pucks are entering their net left and right. However, Gordeev is one of the only defensemen giving the Heartlanders a chance.
Gordeev has a plus-minus rating of minus four. While this seems like a low number for someone being praised for their defensive abilities, Gordeev’s minus four is one of the best ratings on the team. Many players have a plus-minus in the negative double digits. He has been one of the better defensemen Iowa has to offer by far.
While Gordeev is defensively skilled, his offensive abilities have never been what NHL clubs seek out of their defensemen. He manages to score at around a point every other game pace in the ECHL. No NHL club will see those point totals and expect a superstar.
Gordeev could be a shutdown defensive defenseman in the NHL.
Gordeev’s point totals may not be exceptionally high, but watching him play on the Heartlanders shows how much of his heart is in the game. He throws himself in front of pucks that would be guaranteed goals otherwise. Gordeev is constantly hanging back to get between the puck and the netminder.
Offensive defensemen have been the primary target of NHL clubs, but players such as Devon Toews show just how vital a primarily defensive role can be. Gordeev still has a ways to go, but he could become a great NHL defender with the proper development.