Jason Zucker will make his NHL debut tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers. Wearing No. 16, Zucker (pronounced Zooker) will become the 45th player to dress in a Wild sweater this season.
He said he couldn't sleep last night, won't sleep tonight, but yet, he seemed very confident and definitely sure of his decision to leave DU. He said he made the decision Monday night while talking to his parents, Natalie and Scott, who will attend the game with siblings Evan, Adam, Cameron and Kimberly. He said he informed Pioneers coach George Gwozdecky of his decision yesterday, and he was glad he was able to leave on good terms.
"It was purely my decision," Zucker said. "It was something that I wanted and thought I was ready for. ... I think it was just time for me to move on."
In Wednesday's practice, he skated on the left side of a line with center Erik Christensen and right wing Nick Johnson. Cal Clutterbuck moved to a line with Kyle Brodziak and Darroll Powe.
Chad Rau has been reassigned.
"It's going to be a great opportunity," Zucker said. "I'm real excited for it. I'm going to be able to gain a lot of experience."
Said coach Mike Yeo: "He's going to feel so much more comfortable coming into camp next year. ... I don't want to pigeonhole him into anything as far as what we expect from him."
In other news, Matt Kassian will miss the final six games with a sports hernia. Yeo said the plan is for him to undergo surgery. Also, defenseman Justin Falk (knee) practiced today but is not ready to return.