The Wild sent former first round draft picks Luke Kunin and Joel Eriksson Ek to Iowa of the American Hockey League and recalled forward Zack Mitchell on Tuesday.
Mitchell is Iowa's leading scorer, with five goals and 11 assists in 11 games. He had a goal and an assist with the Wild earlier this season.
"Yeah, it's completely different, especially when you go from playing, I played penalty kill and power play down there," Mitchell said. "But at the same time, I’m still excited to be up here. Any time you have to go out on the ice, you’ve just got to, even if you’re not [skating] for a while, you’ve just got to find it sometimes. It’s tough for sure, but it's going to be a challenge, and if you can’t get excited for that, then something's wrong."
Kunin (pictured), 19, was the Wild's first round pick (15th overall) in 2016. He was pegged for Iowa until injuries forced him into the Minnesota lineup. He has two goals and two assists in 17 games.
Eriksson Ek, 20, was the Wild's first round pick (20th overall) in 2015. He has a goal and two assists in 20 games.
"We just think those guys need a little bit of confident and get a chance to play the power play, get a chance to play 22, 23 minutes a night,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Kunin and Eriksson Ek. “I know when I played, when I got sent down, you felt so much better because you’re at your NHL speed. You’ve got your NHL legs and everything. And Mitch has been very, very good down there and bringing him up might be just a little poke of energy for us.”
The Wild, which lost 4-3 in overtime Monday to New Jersey at the X, is at Buffalo on Wednesday night. At practice Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center, just Daniel Winnik and Eric Staal were absent, likely on a maintenence day.