With 13 healthy NHL forwards on the roster for the first time since Tyler Graovac was injured opening night, Wild coach Mike Yeo was finally able to make a lineup decision Thursday. For at least one night, the odd man out was center Erik Haula.
Veteran Jarret Stoll, scooped up off waivers from the Rangers on Tuesday, made his Wild debut against those very same Rangers. Causing the least disruption possible, Stoll slid right into Haula's fourth-line center spot between Chris Porter and Ryan Carter.
"I'm not disappointed with his game," Yeo said of Haula, who has two goals and two assists in 28 games and no points in 12 consecutive games. "I guess the one thing I would say is he just really hasn't put himself in a position where he can't come out of the lineup. I would say there are a couple guys probably that are like that.
"It's a good thing. Guys are going to be motivated every night. You know that you can't really have an off night."
Haula is in "the mix of guys that could come out of the lineup," Yeo said. Porter (on the ice for one power-play goal against all year on a team ranked 26th on the penalty kill), Carter and Justin Fontaine are likely the others, although Haula is the only one who plays the same position as Stoll.
Yeo indicated Stoll, who is exceptional in the faceoff circle and won 11 of 15 draws Thursday, plays with a similar identity as Porter and Carter: "Committed to playing the game well defensively, competing hard and being a line that is tough to play against."
Stoll watched plenty of video the past two days to try to cram the Wild's system into his brain. He said it was similar to that of Los Angeles, where he spent seven seasons.
"I don't want him going out there and thinking too much," Yeo said. "I just want him going out there and playing the game. Hockey's still hockey."
Defenseman Nate Prosser normally doesn't go looking for fights (nine scraps in 212 career games), but Vancouver's Derek Dorsett came looking for him with 1 minute, 33 seconds left in Tuesday's game.
"I turned around and I looked and I saw it was him, and then he dropped his gloves," Prosser said. "It almost felt like he wanted to come at me swinging, so I better take my gloves off, be prepared for it and protect myself. It's 6-2, a minute and a half left, I'm not looking for a fight."
Prosser nailed Dorsett with a huge uppercut.
"I'm not usually out there looking at individual guys and want to fight this guy or that guy," Prosser said. "I like getting in guys' heads and getting in guys' ears."
On a streak
Yeo loved Thomas Vanek's game against Vancouver, and not just because of the veteran's four points. He competed and played structured hockey. Before Jason Zucker's goal, Vanek was the third guy high, and then hustled at the perfect time. On Mikko Koivu's goal, Vanek was the first guy into the zone on a forecheck.
Vanek is the Wild's leading goal scorer with 11 and second-leading point producer with 24.
"I've noticed a competitiveness to his game," Yeo said. "For the most part, it's been there night after night."
•Defenseman Brady Skjei, the 109th former Gopher to play in the NHL, skated in his second NHL game. The Lakeville native expected 75 friends and family members.
•The Wild reassigned defenseman Tyson Strachan after the game.