Whether it’s because they’ve played together on the same line for the past season-plus and play with an identical tenacity, or simply because their last names both begin with a D — and the “doo” sound — Wild fans tend to think of Connor Dewar and Brandon Duhaime as a, uh, duo.
“We do it, too,” Wild head coach Dean Evason said Thursday.
Hence their roles as Dewey #1 and Dewey #2, and their identical rugby shirts, in the team’s popular Gus Bus ad.
That’s OK with the young forwards.
“Most times,” Dewar acknowledged, “you’ll probably find us hanging out” together.
In terms of North America, they couldn’t come from more different places — Duhaime, 26, from Parkland, Fla., and Dewar, 24, from Manitoba — but they clicked as roommates in their first year together with the Wild’s AHL team in Des Moines.
They played on the same line there, as well.
“Yeah, I mean, anytime you can be with a guy for a while, you kind of build chemistry,” Duhaime said. “I would say that’s a big factor.”
Center Dewar and left wing Duhaime became linked in another way during Tuesday’s 5-2 victory at Montreal when they each scored a short-handed goal in the same penalty kill, 26 seconds apart. They’re the third pair of Minnesota players to do it, joining Wes Walz and Antii Laaksonen (2000) and Ryan Hartman and Sam Steel (2023).
Evason has been pleased with their play this season on a line with Pat Maroon, who joined the team after being acquired in a deal with Tampa Bay this summer. Before Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, Evason called that trio “arguably our best line” through three games.
“We just kind of came up through the organization together,” Dewar said. “We’ve been playing together for years.”
One of the best bits of the Gus Bus spot is Dewar, sitting in the window seat next to Duhaime, breathing on the window and writing in the condensation with his finger.
That was a Dewar improvisation.
“I was trying to think, ‘What would a little kid do?’ ” he said.
The ad, part of the team’s “Not Weird. Wild” campaign, has attracted 1.1 million views on the Wild’s Twitter account and more than 22,000 views on their YouTube channel.
Sammy Walker, one of the Wild’s top prospects in Iowa, was set to join the big-league team on Thursday as part of the second line with center Joel Eriksson Ek and left wing Marcus Johansson, slotting into the spot vacated when Matt Boldy was sidelined by an upper-body injury.
The three had never played together before.
“Whoever you’re playing with, you just try to do your best and try to score,” Walker said. “You’re just trying to play hockey.”
The Wild are using the NHL’s emergency personnel rules to add Walker after playing a skater short in Montreal. Walker scored three preseason goals and was one of the last players cut in camp, mostly because the Wild — still being penalized for buying out the contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter — didn’t have enough salary cap space.
Evason said Walker was among four candidates to get the callup from Des Moines.
The Wild placed Alex Goligoski on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday, requiring the veteran blue liner to miss at least 10 games and 24 days of the season.
Dakota Mermis had already been called up before Goligoski was hurt, and played well on Tuesday in Montreal, but the LTIR designation offers the Wild salary cap relief if they want to recall an extra defenseman even though the team is technically within $51,000 of the NHL’s $83.5 million cap.
Asked if he anticipates the Wild doing that, Evason said, “Beats the snot out of me.”
That will be up to general manager Bill Guerin. If that’s the case, Evason said, Minnesota and Iowa staffs “will all make a decision together.”
Evason said Jared Spurgeon, out since suffering an upper-body injury in an Oct. 5 preseason game, has begun skating. “It’s obviously positive that he’s on the ice,” the coach said. … Boldy has yet to begin skating since being hurt last Saturday in Toronto.
Kirill Kaprizov finds his game, Wild find salary cap relief
On special night for Marc-Andre Fleury, special teams go Wild
After playing shorthanded Tuesday, Wild will be eligible for emergency help
Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury gets first start of season. Will it be his last in Montreal?
Wild lose another one: Matt Boldy week to week with upper-body injury