RALEIGH, N.C. – With defenseman Marco Scandella still away from the team tending to a family matter and a couple of blue-liners banged up, the Wild recalled rookie Gustav Olofsson for the first time in his career Thursday.
He didn’t make his NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes and then, along with teammate Christoph Bertschy, was sent back to AHL Iowa after the Wild’s 3-2 overtime win.
The Wild will either go with the same six defensemen Saturday against the Stars or perhaps Scandella is returning. Regardless, the Wild will now need to call up a different forward to play against Dallas.
It was adventurous day Thursday for Bertschy and Olofsson. For some reason, the Wild felt compelled to have each to play the night before in Grand Rapids. The Wild took the risk of flying them to Raleigh on the day of the game, and the two missed a connection, had plane issues and arrived in Raleigh without their equipment.
Their gear arrived at the arena so late that Bertschy, who had a tough game, didn’t even get a chance to take part in pregame warmups.
To afford both, the Wild invoked its Long-Term Injury exception with Tyler Graovac and Justin Fontaine in order to eclipse the $71.4 million salary-cap ceiling. To be eligible, a player must miss 10 games and 24 days. When either is set to return, the Wild must get cap compliant.
Bertschy, 21, began Thursday’s game at right wing on a fourth line with Chris Porter and Erik Haula.
Olofsson has no goals, three assists and is minus-10 in 15 games for a bad, injury-depleted Iowa team. He was recalled over Mike Reilly, who has two goals, three assists and is an Iowa-worst minus-14 in 15 games.
“I can’t say for sure, but I’m very certain that he’ll get a good opportunity at some point,” Yeo said.
Jordan Schroeder, who skated with Ryan Carter and Charlie Coyle, has no points in six games and missed much of the second period Thursday after taking a puck off the bridge of the nose.
“I have to constantly be attacking and on my feet to be effective, and first couple games, I thought I maybe was and I wasn’t,” Schroeder said before the game. “I’m just really trying to dial it in and keep building and building. Confidence will keep coming with the puck.”
Schroeder said he’s been doing a lot of video work at the rink and at home.
“It’s just like a good quarterback in the NFL, they watch constant film,” Schroeder said.
That empty feeling
The Wild has had cracks at scoring an empty-net goal in eight games this season yet is the only NHL team that hasn’t scored one. The Wild won each of those games, but since 2013, the Wild is the third-least proficient team scoring empty-net goals, according to war-on-ice.com.
Of course, since 2013, the Wild is the most efficient at preventing them.
“I appreciate that guys aren’t icing pucks, guys aren’t selfish about it, … but we’ve had cracks at it,” Yeo said. “We get over the red line, we’re taking shots and just missing the net. I’d like to think it’s going to turn. I don’t think it’s something that our guys aren’t trying to score. It’s not like we’re not aggressive with it, but it would make for some quieter ends to hockey games, that’s for sure.”