The Wild has signed veteran defenseman Brett Clark to a one-year deal, NHL sources say. He will be in town today to take his physical. If he passes, he will join the Wild tomorrow.
Excerpt of my updated blog after 1 a.m.:
The 36-year-old free agent, who you may remember as a longtime Colorado Avalanche, has been nearly a point-a-game player for AHL Oklahoma City since the lockout.
He has one goal and 16 assists in 18 games and is plus-7. By all accounts, he has been very good. He played the past two years for Tampa Bay, playing 82 games each year and scoring nine goals in 2010-11. He has 45 goals and 185 points in 681 games over parts of 13 years with four NHL teams.
From watching him over the years, he's a good shot blocker and decent puck mover.
Wild's next two games are against Colorado, coincidentally enough, if Clark is to debut.
I have not talked with the Wild yet about signing Clark, but my guess is it's to provide depth and experience on the NHL roster. If he were to go to Houston, he would have to be placed on waivers.
I'm not sure what that would mean for Justin Falk or Nate Prosser, who are both on one-way deals. Obviously, Prosser has been the odd guy out most nights because Mike Yeo has explained the Wild doesn't have a right-shot D that feels comfortable playing the left side.
Either a trade is in the works or maybe Prosser is going on waivers to get to Houston. The Wild did trade an NHL salary out of Houston yesterday by sending Matt Kassian to Ottawa, so maybe it is willing to pay Prosser his NHL salary there. Just conjecture though.
Signing Clark also tells you right now where Marco Scandella is on the totem pole. He doesn't have a lot of experience, has been hurt a lot and is trying to beat the inconsistency demon. My guess is the Wild would be willing to trade Scandella at this point in his career. The second-round pick is the type of defenseman that may be a valuable asset.
Clark brings experience. When Tom Gilbert didn't play against Vancouver the other night, it was Ryan Suter and five very inexperienced D in the lineup -- Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner, Falk and Prosser. They actually did quite well in the 4-2 win though.
-- IN other news, Corey Perry has an 11 a.m. CT phone hearing for his eventual suspension for a blatant head shot on Jason Zucker. The Wild practices at noon, so we'll have a Zucker update after that. See more on the hit on the previous blog.
The Wild can insert Pierre-Marc Bouchard for Zucker. It'll also probably recall a forward from Houston. My guess is Justin Fontaine or Johan Larsson. We will see.