Earlier this season, Wild youngsters Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek both slipped out of the lineup.
Greenway was sent to the minors for a short stint to repair his confidence, while Eriksson Ek was more recently demoted to a healthy scratch after a slow offensive start.
But the two have rebounded of late, and their partnership on the same line seems to be a factor in their improvement.
“He’s been great for me,” Greenway said.
Although Eriksson Ek has been in the NHL roughly a season longer than Greenway, their situations are similar.
They’re both high draft picks looking to settle in as bona fide NHLers by playing a heavy style that sparks scoring.
“I had meetings with both of them this week, and they’re both feel good about their game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They’re comfortable in the position they’re in. So if they can chip in with some goals, as well, what a bonus that is for our team.”
The 21-year-olds have been more involved in the Wild’s forechecking effort lately, and they’ve been rewarded for it — with Greenway (on the wing) tallying a goal and assist last week and Eriksson Ek (at center) adding an assist, production that has helped the Wild maintain a balanced attack.
“We grew up playing a little bit of the same game,” Eriksson Ek said. “I think we’re both pretty big, and we want to play with speed and down low. So that’s probably the biggest part and then when you stick together with a guy for a while, you remember what he’s thinking and he knows what I’m thinking. So that’s part of it, as well.”
Tuesday was just the second time Greenway competed against his former teammate, Coyotes forward Clayton Keller, in the NHL.
The two were most recently together at Boston University but had been playing together since ninth grade, attending Shattuck-St. Mary’s and the USA Hockey National Team Development Program at the same time.
“We would talk about being here,” Greenway said, referring to the NHL. “It’s just funny how now we’re playing against each other.”
After scoring a goal and setting up another in the 4-2 victory over the Jets Friday, winger Nino Niederreiter didn’t earn a promotion back up to the Wild’s top six against Arizona.
Instead, he stayed on the fourth line where he excelled last week and that’s a spot he’ll remain in for “right now,” Boudreau said.
“Not taking anything away from Nino — he tries hard every game,” Boudreau continued. “We just need that on a consistent basis.”
A little more than a year after announcing plans to open a space at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, winger Jason Zucker and his wife, Carly, unveiled the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio Monday following a fundraising effort that raised more than $1 million.
“It was very fulfilling,” Zucker said.
The setup includes a state-of-the-art broadcast studio and theater, with programming ranging from music request hours to game shows and celebrity visits. Wild games will also be shown in the theater, and the experience will mimic attending an actual game since there’s a ticketed entrance along with food and beverages.
“It was incredible,” Zucker said. “It was really cool to see the spot. Seeing it complete was insane. They did such a great job.”
• Defenseman Nate Prosser made just his second appearance of the season Tuesday, drawing in for an ill Greg Pateryn.
• The Wild placed defenseman Eric Martinsson on unconditional waivers Tuesday for the purpose of terminating his contract, a move that paves the way for Martinsson to return to Sweden.