Joel Eriksson Ek's NHL debut will come tonight when the Wild visits the New Jersey Devils (6 p.m. CT).
Eriksson Ek, held out of last night's Iowa game, was recalled today. To make room for Eriksson Ek from a salary-cap perspective, Mike Reilly was returned to Iowa.
Wearing No. 14, Eriksson Ek, 19, will play for center Erik Haula, who can barely walk right now. He will center Jason Zucker and Teemu Pulkkinen and Zac Dalpe will center the third line with Nino Niederreiter and Chris Stewart or Jason Pominville.
"I’ve always expected guys that come up to do a really good job, especially when it’s their first game," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You go one way or the other -- you’re either too nervous and can’t deal with it or your adrenaline is flowing so much, so well, that you have a great game. From what I’ve seen of Eriksson Ek, I think he’s got a lot of composure. I think he’s going to do fine."
On his line, Boudreau said, "They can all skate, they’ll all play with enthusiasm, so we’ll see where it goes."
Eriksson Ek, the Wild's first-round pick in the 2015 draft, scored his North American pro debut earlier this week against Grand Rapids. Pretty cool goal, as you can see below.
With Reilly gone and Jared Spurgeon out tonight with an upper-body injury, Nate Prosser will make his season debut after being scratched in the first four games.
"He’s always there, he works hard everyday," Boudreau said. "He knows he’s not an everyday player so far, but he’s always ready. He’s looking forward to playing tonight."
Prosser said, "That's just kind of the name of the game it's been for me. This isn't the first year it's been like this. You know, I've got to be that positive teammate and make sure I'm rooting on my teammates and making sure they feel the positivity coming from me. Just waiting for my number to be called and tonight is the night."