ONTARIO, Calif. – With the addition of forward Sam Anas, the Iowa Wild will have three players representing the team at the 2020 AHL All-Star Game on Monday. The Wild enter the break tied with the fourth best record in the AHL, and are second to the Milwaukee Admirals in the Central Division.
Anas joins forward Gerald Mayhew and defenseman Brennan Menell. This is a bit of redemption for both, as neither was drafted and both were looking for a job before the 2017-18 season. Now, they get a chance to prove that 30 other teams made a big mistake as each will make their first AHL All-Star Game appearance.
Here is a look at the three representatives.
Gerald Mayhew, F
The fact that Mayhew is not in the NHL right now is looking more like a crime than an oversight. He has scored 30 goals in 38 games this season, which leads the league, and enters the break with 47 points, second in the AHL. He also scored two goals in a six-game call-up with the Minnesota Wild.
The Wild forward has eight two-goal games this season, including six in his last 15 contests. He has 26 points in that span.
Besides his goal scoring and point totals, Mayhew ranks in the top five in several other categories. He is tied for first in power play goals (11) and is second in points-per-game average (1.24). Mayhew set the franchise record for goals this season, and has done it in just 38 contests.
Right now, Mayhew looks like a man among boys. Watching him play, he looks a step ahead of most other players each night, and is simply impossible to stop.
Brennan Menell, D
Menell is on his way to having the best season of his career. He enters the break with 32 points in 40 games and is well on pace to breaking last year’s single-season mark for points (44), which he set in 70 games. He has appeared in five games for the Minnesota Wild this season.
The Wild defenseman is fourth in the league in points among defensemen and is second in assists (28). Among all players, he is third in power play assists with 16 and third in power play points with 18.
Menell is a solid two-way player, who is a little undersized in comparison to most defenseman (5’11”, 177 lbs.). However, he knows how to hold position in front of his own net, and he is quick and smart on the ice. At just 22, it is likely that his best days are clearly ahead of him.
Sam Anas, F
Anas was a late edition to the All-Star Game after Milwaukee Admirals forward Yakov Trenin became unavailable for the mid-season classic. However, this looks more like a wrong being righted than him being “added” late.
Anas is a play-making machine. He is third in the AHL in points with 46 and is tied for the league lead in assists with 32. The Iowa forward has been awesome on the power play, ranked first in assists (23) and first in points (28).
The Wild forward had a seven-game stretch this season (December 27 to January 10) where he scored five goals and added 12 assists. That included four three-point games.
Despite putting up amazing numbers, Anas has not been called up to the big club yet. He has clearly proved that he deserves a chance.
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