The Wild doesn’t have a trade-deadline acquisition to debut Tuesday, but it will roll out a different lineup than the one that’s been used recently.
Defenseman Jonas Brodin is ready to return against the Blues after missing the previous nine games to recover from surgery to fix his fractured left hand. Forward Luke Kunin was also recalled from Iowa, along with defenseman Nick Seeler (although Seeler's "demotion" Monday was a paper move).
“I’ve been out for a while, so I’m really excited for tonight and to start playing again,” Brodin said.
Brodin was injured Feb. 6 when the Wild visited the Blues, getting jammed up along the boards. Immediately, he knew he was hurt but he actually thought it was wrist that was in trouble and not his hand.
“Then when I came to the bench, I saw the hand was pretty swollen,” Brodin said. “I couldn’t even move it.”
During the nine games he was out, the Wild went 6-1-2 – a solid showing that included steady play by the blue line. While Brodin healed up, defenseman Nick Seeler debuted and he’s poised to remain in the mix after the team traded Mike Reilly to the Canadiens Monday ahead of the deadline.
“He certainly so far has exceeded my expectations,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Seeler. “I said to him today, I said, 'Now that you're here, you going to still be good?' He said, 'Don't worry Coach. I'll be trying as hard as I can.' That's all you want him to do. That's all you can ask him to do.”
The Wild held an optional skate Tuesday, so it’s unclear where Brodin could slot in the top-six against the Blues. Regardless, though, having him back on the ice is certainly a boost for the Wild.
“We get back our highest plus-minus defenseman,” Boudreau said. “A very good puck-moving defenseman. A very good skater and knows how to play his position. We might not have made a trade but after 10 games, we get back one of our best defensemen. It really adds to our team.”
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Tyler Ennis-Joel Eriksson Ek-Charlie Coyle
Marcus Foligno-Matt Cullen-Daniel Winnik
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Nick Seeler-Nate Prosser
7-1-2: The Wild’s record over its last 10 games.
48: Points on home ice for the Wild, which is tied for second in the NHL.
4: Goals for center Eric Staal in his last four games.
1-1-1: The Blues’ record against the Wild this season.
14: Points for Blues winger Alexander Steen in his last 14 games against the Wild.
About the Blues:
The Blues are sputtering, mired in a season-high six-game losing streak. This slide has dropped the team out of a playoff spot, as it sits a point out of the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference. St. Louis has been shut out its last two games and hasn’t scored in 140:24. Overall, the team has been outscored 21-7 during its losing streak. Amid these struggles, the Blues traded away center Paul Stastny to the Jets Monday ahead of the trade deadline.