Russo reported that the Wild have signed the mercurial kid from Savage to an AHL contract, and he's on the roster for the Prospects Tourny in Traverse City that starts today. (Also of note to Gopher fans is that Tyler Hirsch is also there on a tryout basis.)
We could discuss whether or not DR and Tommy T laid an egg by drafting AJ in the first place, but that's academic at this point.
Since we can't undo that pick, I think they've done a great job of handling the situation since the end of the season.
AJ's got some issues. Fine. I can accept that. He might not ever live up to his draft pick. Okay. That's a bit harder to swallow, but I'll get it down. Either he wants to be a NHLer or he doesn't. So the question becomes: can he be motivated?
I think dropping him for a compensatory pick (which we parlayed into moving up to draft Gillies) and then bringing him back into the fold for free is a stroke of genius. Hopefully he's embarassed and pissed off at the way his summer went. By all reports he had a good playoffs for Vancouver in helping them win the Memorial Cup last spring. So the best-case scenario here is that he uses this as the impetus to keep his head down and really focus on the proliferation of his hockey career.
He's playing for a contract, and he knows the best he can hope for from us is Houston right now. So our cards are all on the table. It's up to AJ now, for better or for worse.
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