Woodbury native Brennan Menell inked a three-year, entry-level contract with the Wild on Tuesday.
A lot of young players sign entry-level deals, but Menell's story is special. He failed to make the St. Thomas Academy hockey team during his sophomore season.
After missing the cut, Menell left Minnesota and joined the North American Prospects Hockey League, then eventually landed in the Western Hockey League, (WHL) where he flourished.
He put up 71 points in 70 games last season, and because of his impressive year he was invited to the Wild's annual development camp. There, he earned a roster spot for the Traverse City Prospect Tournament.
Menell kept defying the odds, and stuck around in training camp where he played in the Wild's second preseason game, tallying an assist in 15 minutes of ice time.
He was assigned to the Iowa Wild on Tuesday – Minnesota's AHL affiliate – but his play earned him that three-year contract.
The 20-year-old's path to the NHL is very similar to Jared Spurgeon's, who is one of the best defenseman in the NHL.
Spurgeon opted not to sign with the New York Islanders in 2008. Instead he became a free agent, where he dominated the WHL, then was invited to the Wild's training camp in 2010. He would go on to ink a three-year entry-level contract with Minnesota.
Menell spent training camp practicing with Spurgeon, a player Menell told the Pioneer Press he looks up to.
“I went from watching him in the stands last year to being on the ice with him. That was definitely a moment that stuck out for me," he told the paper.
The Wild open the 2017-18 season next Thursday, Sept. Oct. 5.