A new jersey or two didn’t have to be procured.
There wasn’t much change in the locker room setup.
And the lineup used Tuesday was familiar.
Such is the reality of the minimal turnover generated by the Wild before the NHL’s trade deadline hit Monday, a decision by management that also signaled its confidence in the current contingent.
“I think we all believe that, too,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “It shows that they believe it as well, and we’ve worked hard since Christmas, I think, to show that we can win in here. We’re playing well now, so it’s nice to get the chance to go prove that.”
Although the Wild wasn’t active — trading only defenseman Mike Reilly to the Canadiens in exchange for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick after losing winger Chris Stewart on waivers to the Flames — team officials still hope they can change the roster by calling on prospects from the minors.
“I thought that was one thing our team lacked last season in March,” General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “We played a lot of hockey and battled hard all year. We had a really tough stretch, and I just remember thinking, ‘It’d be great if had a 20- or 21-year-old we could bring in to maybe give us a shot in the arm.’ ”
Forward Luke Kunin appears first in line to get that opportunity; he was recalled by the team from the American Hockey League on Tuesday afternoon, leaving the Wild with two non-emergency recalls for the rest of the season.
Kunin had two goals and four points in 17 games with the Wild earlier this season before returning to Iowa, where he amassed 10 goals and 19 points in 36 games.
“He brings energy,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s a leader by nature. He’s not a goal scorer. But when was up here the previous times he was very responsible, plays very hard, and gives us a lot of energy.”
The 20-year-old Kunin didn’t play against the Blues, and how Boudreau deploys the team’s depth in the remaining games will depend on individual performance.
“We are very cognizant of who we have on the team and the egos and everything else,” he said. “But the bottom line is winning. So play good and stay in the lineup.”
Center Matt Cullen was checking his phone more than usual Monday but once the deadline passed, he was still with the Wild — which didn’t surprise him.
“We’ve got a good thing going,” he said. “We’re in a good spot here. We’re winning a lot of games.”
Still, his experience and pedigree as a three-time Stanley Cup champion no doubt made him an intriguing name in the rumor mill. The Penguins were reportedly interested in a reunion.
“It’s flattering, of course,” Cullen said. “At age 41, the fact that teams are still calling is a compliment. I’ll take it as that.”
Fletcher believes Cullen’s role with the Wild has blossomed of late after an early-season adjustment period in which Cullen and Boudreau got familiar with each other. And after Cullen scored the first goal to ignite the comeback overtime victory over the Sharks on Sunday, Fletcher anticipates similar contributions from Cullen in the future.
“That’s why we wanted Matt, and we don’t need him to score every game or make a big play every game,” Fletcher said. “But he’s going to make some big ones for us down the stretch here.”
Defenseman Jonas Brodin returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the previous nine games to recover from surgery that fixed his fractured left hand.
Brodin was injured Feb. 6 in St. Louis after awkwardly getting jammed into the boards.
“I felt it right away,” he said. “I actually thought it was my wrist. But then when I came to the bench, I saw the hand was pretty swollen. I couldn’t even move it.”
While Brodin healed, the Wild debuted youngster Nick Seeler, and Seeler remained in the top six against the Blues — a sign of how well he played during Brodin’s absence.
“[Seeler] certainly so far has exceeded my expectations,” Boudreau said. “I said to him [Tuesday], 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.”