DENVER – Awards ballots were sent to members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association for five major awards and the annual All-Star teams and All-Rookie team on Thursday, as well as the broadcasters and general managers for two others.
The Wild could at least have contenders for the Norris, Vezina, Selke and Jack Adams awards.
One award that's always tough to quantify is the Lady Byng Trophy, which goes annually to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.
In other words, top players who log significant ice time who typically don't take a lot of penalties.
Two Wild players that warrant consideration are defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who skated Thursday morning but didn't play in the 4-3 victory over Colorado because of a lower-body injury, and winger Mikael Granlund.
Since Spurgeon entered the NHL in 2010-11, no players has logged more minutes with fewer penalty minutes (68). This season, he has 38 points and 20 minutes penalty minutes while averaging 24 minutes, 1 second a game.
Granlund, who scored Thursday, leads the Wild with 69 points while having taken 10 minor penalties despite averaging 18:49 a game.
Neither is considered a soft player, either. They're smart, quick, move their feet and initiate contact.
"They both compete extremely hard," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Once I got the job, I didn't know Spurge as much, but Granny was very physical in the World Cup that I started paying attention. Spurge just amazes me every time he steps on the ice because I think he's so good."
Cut down, sort of
Boudreau entered this season hoping to cut defenseman Ryan Suter's minutes to 24-25 minutes a night so he would be fresher in the playoffs.
Suter, who leads all NHL players with a plus-35, leads all NHL players in total ice time 2,185 minutes, 1 seconds. But his average ice time ranked third at 26:58 a game.
That's still 1:45 less per game than he averaged his first four years with the Wild.
"He's leading the plus-minus in the league for a reason," Boudreau said. "That's because when he's on the ice usually good things are happening, and the coach feels safe when he's on the ice. So I understand why previous coaches have played him so much."
Suter would still prefer to play more, especially in the playoffs. "I feel good," he said. "I want to play minutes. I think the more you play, the more you're into the game, the more you get that competitive juice flowing. It makes you feel better."
Only able to scratch one forward because it has reached its post-trade deadline maximum of four nonemergency call-ups, captain Mikko Koivu got the night off.
The 34-year-old is expected to play in the Wild's regular-season finale at Arizona on Saturday.
"We still have one more game after this one, and then it's not going to be too long of a break [before the playoffs begin Wednesday] either, so this is fine by me," Koivu said.
He has two goals and 17 assists in the past 28 games. His 18 goals, however, are his most since scoring 22 in 2009-10. His 57 points are his most since his 62 in 2010-11.
• Wild winger Jason Zucker (lower body) scored in his return after missing three games, but Chris Stewart missed the game because of strep throat. If Stewart feels better, he could join the team in Arizona.
• Linesman Ryan Galloway, who lives in the Farmington/Lakeville area, was struck by a Martin Hanzal first period dump-in. He bled badly, and according to an NHL official in an email to the Star Tribune, was taken to a hospital with of a jaw injury.
• The Wild signed prospect Dmitry Sokolov to an amateur tryout for the rest of Iowa's season. The 2016 seventh-round pick led OHL Sudbury with 48 goals, had 72 points and was minus-32.