WINNIPEG – The Wild was shorthanded at its morning skate Tuesday at Bell MTS Place, with newly-acquired winger Kevin Fiala still en route to Winnipeg, but the newcomer is expected to arrive in time to make his Wild debut against the Jets.
On Monday, the Wild traded forward Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Fiala.
“I’ve heard nothing but good things about him as far as the skill set,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “His skill set is supposedly great. First-round pick, so other people saw him in the same vein. He’ll get probably a better chance to prove his skill set here than he would in Nashville.”
Listed as a left winger, Fiala looks poised to start on the right side next to Zach Parise and Luke Kunin – who will move to the middle from right wing. While Kunin didn’t play much center at Wisconsin, he has suited up at the position before when he was with the U.S. National program.
While the team is focused on extending its three-game win streak and continuing its push for a playoff spot, the loss of a longtime teammate in Granlund still resonated with the group.
“He’s a very, very well-liked guy in here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “I don’t know if it caught him by surprise. I think it caught me, caught a lot of us by surprise. He’s been a great player for us. It’s sad when you lose guys like that. We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that we’re getting a player back and from every time we played against him, a very good player. It’s always tough. It’s always bittersweet when it first happens, and he’s certainly going to be missed around here.”
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon also wasn’t on the ice Tuesday morning, as he, too, was still in transit to Winnipeg after Spurgeon and his wife Danielle welcomed a new baby – Myer Elizabeth. He’s also expected to be in the Wild’s lineup against the Jets.
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Jason Zucker
Zach Parise-Luke Kunin-Kevin Fiala
Ryan Donato-Joel Eriksson Ek-Pontus Aberg
Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Brad Hunt
9-4-1: The Wild’s record over its last 14 road games.
3: Wins for the Wild this season vs. the Jets.
.945: Save percentage for Dubnyk this season against Winnipeg.
9-3-1: Dubnyk’s record over his past 13 road starts.
4: Points for winger Ryan Donato in three games with the Wild.
About the Jets:
Winnipeg is jostling for the top seed in the Central Division, sitting just a point back of the Nashville Predators for that No.1 spot. The Jets have won just once in their last five games and are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Coyotes Sunday in Arizona. Like the Wild, the Jets were busy Monday before the trade deadline. Aside from adding veteran Matt Hendricks from the Wild, Winnipeg brought in center Kevin Hayes. In 51 games with the New York Rangers this season, Hayes registered 14 goals and 42 points.