Like he has for the last decade, Jonas Brodin is preparing for another season with the Wild.
But training camp is different this year.
Matt Dumba isn't there.
"It's a little bit weird, yeah," Brodin said. "We played with each other for 10 years almost, or more. It was a little bit weird to not see him."
Dumba and the Wild separated over the summer, the cap-strapped Wild unable to afford to extend the partnership and Dumba subsequently joining Arizona on a one-year deal.
This split ended Dumba's 10-season run with the team that drafted him seventh overall in 2012, and it broke up the Wild's longest-tenured pairing on defense — a duo that also built a genuine friendship.
"I want the best for him," Brodin said. "I think Arizona's going to be good for him. He's going to play a lot, probably first power play, too, and get a lot of ice time. So I'm really happy for him and hoping he has a good year."
Brodin and Dumba were both at the Wild's development camp in 2012, Brodin a first-round pick from the previous year, and that's when the two met.
They were roommates at the Holiday Inn in St. Paul.
"We just connected right away," Brodin recalled. "He helped me so much outside of hockey. My English wasn't the best, and he helped me a lot with everything going on."
Over the next 11 years, the two — along with captain Jared Spurgeon — became cornerstones of the Wild blue line.
The pair's last game together was Game 6 against Dallas at Xcel Energy Center last April, an unceremonious conclusion to Dumba's time with the Wild: not only was the team knocked out of the playoffs by the Stars, Dumba left the action early after hitting his head on the glass. Brodin was the one who told Dumba he wasn't going to let Dumba play in the condition he was in.
Overall, Brodin and Dumba shared the ice for a whopping 5,593 minutes, according to Natural Stat Trick, through 521 games together.
"My best memory was probably when he came to Sweden one summer a couple years ago," Brodin said. "That was for my birthday. He came to Sweden. We had a great time."
While they still talk quite a bit, sometimes on FaceTime, Brodin and Dumba will be communicating with a different defensive partner on the ice.
For Brodin, 30, that's rookie Brock Faber, who impressed enough last season after leaving the Gophers that the Maple Grove native is getting the first opportunity in Dumba's former spot.
"He looked like he'd been playing for five years already," Brodin said of Faber. "He's an awesome player. Really good skating. Good with the puck. It's going to be fun.
"It's probably going to take a couple games to get into it, but I'm excited to play with him. He's a great player."
Team brass has also identified Faber's skating as a strength, as well as his stick work.
"Something I don't take for granted," Faber said about working with Brodin. "Just try and soak it all in and learn as much as I can from him and be the best D-partner I can."
Among active players, only Spurgeon has played for the Wild longer than Brodin, who's on the brink of his 12th NHL season and at 741 career games is three away from passing Nick Schultz for third place all-time in the Wild's record book.
Next up, though, is a new chapter.
"It's been fast," Brodin said. "It feels like I just got here almost. It's awesome. I love it. The fans, the organization, and everything, it's awesome. I really enjoy being here."