The facts in the hockey player’s bio couldn’t scream “first-line NHL centre” any quieter.
He’s undrafted. He’s 29 years old. He makes $550,000 per year, a whopping $25,000 above the league minimum.
He has bounced around the minor leagues like some kind of Slap Shot extra: 90 games in the East Coast Hockey League, 330 games in the Western Hockey League, 472 games in the American Hockey League. You could track his unpacked suitcase from Saskatoon to Portland to Utah to Idaho to Omaha to Quad City to Calgary to Texas to Dallas to Houston to Minnesota.
Add the last 14 years of his hockey life together, and you’re left with a minus-70 centre-slash-left-winger who has allotted nearly four times as many penalty minutes (1,257) as he has goals (363).
“He has an abrasive attitude”: that’s the first item The Hockey News lists under the man’s assets. As for his flaws? “Doesn’t have a lot of upside on offense, but must continue upgrading his skating and defensive game in order to see more ice time.” And his projected career potential? “Energy depth forward.”
All three of his YouTube highlights appear to be fights.
Stare at his stats and peruse the scouts’ skinny on the player, and you picture him eating lukewarm fast-food entrees in motel rooms in no-hockey American towns, grinding out rent money in the corners. You would be wrong.
Meet Saskatchewan’s Warren Peters, the new No. 1 starting centre for the Minnesota Wild, the National Hockey League’s best team as recently as a couple months ago.
In the absence of injured Mikko Koivu, who will be out for at least two weeks with an upper-body injury, Peters, he of the four career NHL goals, will be taking face-offs between Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi on the Wild’s top unit.
Peters has already been sent back down to the minors on four occasions by Minnesota, but this could be his big break. You like rooting for the underdog? Peters is your man.
In the most in-depth interview we could find on Peters, a seven-question online Q&A from 2009, he says this:
“I would have been hard-pressed to call myself a top-six forward with the group we had when I was [in Idaho], but I learned how to play a role and be a professional.” He was talking about the ECHL.
Now he’s a top-three forward on an NHL squad in the thick of the playoff hunt.
I, for one, will be cheering for Warren Peters to shock the world. Hey. If Kurt Warner can go from grocery-store stock boy to Super Bowl MVP quarterback, is it too ridiculous to think Peters can help lead the Wild to the postseason?