Walker Skated in First NHL Game Saturday

MINNEAPOLIS – It was a night to remember Sammy Walker as the former University of Minnesota product made his National Hockey League debut for the Minnesota Wild Saturday in Edmonton.

The Edina, Minn., native skated in his first NHL game for his hometown team, but did so on the road with the Wild playing in western Canada Saturday night against the Oilers. The former three-year captain of the Maroon and Gold joins elite company as the 120th all-time Gopher to play in the NHL after earning a call up from the American Hockey League this week.

“Very happy for Sammy,” head coach Bob Motzko said. “He’s a competitive dude and he can skate. Two pretty good qualities to have in your game. We’re really happy for him.”

Walker scored 11 goals and 22 points in the first 21 games of his professional hockey career in the AHL to lead all rookies in points and is tied for first in goals. Six of his goals have come on the power play, while he’s also scored shorthanded.

The 23-year-old signed with the Wild in August and made his professional debut with the Iowa Wild with a two-point night Oct. 14. He went on to earn AHL Rookie of the Month honors in November posting 13 points on five goals and eight assists in 12 outings.

Walker played four years at Minnesota and earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors in each of his final three years. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2018-19, he was instrumental in getting the Gophers to the 2022 NCAA Frozen Four and a Big Ten regular-season title during his final collegiate season.

He saw the ice in 144 games over his tenure and is a member of the 100-point club by posting 48 goals and 64 assists for 112 points as a Gopher.

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