Former Miami hockey captain Louie Belpedio gives the same thoughtful interview as he did a month ago, and plays the same offensive-defenseman style of hockey as he did at the Steve 'Coach' Cady arena. Now, however, he's played himself into the Minnesota Wild's record books.
Twenty-one-year-old Belpedio assisted on a pair of goals on Saturday night to become the first Wild player in history to record a multi-point game in his NHL debut.
"It was fun. I was pretty nervous going into it, but once I got settled I felt comfortable," Belpedio said to me on Monday. "I didn't think it would play out like that, to be honest. It was more than I could have expected and more than I could have imagined."
Belpedio was drafted 80th overall by the Wild in the 2014 NHL entry draft, but played for four years at Miami, captaining the RedHawks for his final two seasons in Oxford. He signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Minnesota Wild's American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild, on March 16.
Last Thursday and after 10 games with the AHL team, Minnesota signed Belpedio to a two-year, entry-level contract. Two days later, Belpedio took to the ice in San Jose for his NHL debut.
Belpedio would log a secondary assist on Matt Cullen's goal at 14:52 of the first period, and another secondary assist on Jason Zucker's second goal of the game at 15:25 of the second. The Wild would go on to beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3.
"It was definitely a good start, and I'm glad I got off on the right foot," Belpedio said.
The Minnesota Wild visit the Winnipeg Jets for Game One of the Stanley Cup playoffs tomorrow at 7 p.m. EST.