The Wild has no choice but to switch up its lineup for Game 4 against the Golden Knights.
Forward Marcus Johansson suffered a broken left arm during the Wild's 5-2 loss in Game 3 on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center, getting injured after crashing into the goalpost.
Johansson underwent surgery on Friday, an NHL source said, and there's no timeline for his return.
"He's clearly extremely disappointed but had awesome encouraging words about how we play and how we can play," said coach Dean Evason, who texted with Johansson on Friday morning. "He's a big part of our team. Obviously, we lose his speed factor, a veteran presence. So, yeah, he'll be missed."
Johansson was hurt early in the first period as he drove to the net from the right wing while Vegas' William Karlsson defended him. As Johansson cut inside, he appeared to trip on the puck and collided with the post.
Although the 11-year NHL veteran was held pointless in the playoffs, Johansson had been a fixture in the Wild's top-nine forward group, skating on a line with Kevin Fiala and Victor Rask.
In 36 games during the regular season, Johansson tallied six goals and eight assists while getting sidelined on the COVID list and sitting out with upper-body injuries. Acquired in an offseason trade that sent Eric Staal to the Sabres, Johansson is in the final season of a two-year, $9 million contract and it's possible he's played his last game with the Wild. The 30-year-old will be a free agent after the season.
"We're expecting when we put people into our lineup that they'll be able to hopefully provide us with some of the stuff that Jojo provides us with," Evason said.
Zach Parise looks like the leading candidate to step in after being a healthy scratch for Games 1-3, but Evason didn't commit to playing the Wild's all-time leading playoff scorer.
"We're going to evaluate and make a decision," Evason said.Even before the playoffs started, Parise had become the Wild's extra forward — getting scratched for three of the last four games in the regular season. The winger was also benched earlier in the year for his play against the Golden Knights, an overextended shift in a 5-4 overtime loss at Vegas on March 1.
Overall, Parise had seven goals and 11 assists in 45 games while adapting to a new role on the fourth line that included less action on the power play. His average ice time finished at 13 minutes, 57 seconds, 3-plus minutes lower than last season and the lowest since his rookie season in 2005-06 (13:08). Evason said the team will mull different options for filling Johansson's vacancy, and the Wild has plenty of reinforcements on standby.
Aside from taxi-squaders Luke Johnson, Kyle Rau and Joseph Cramarossa, the Wild recalled Matt Boldy, Connor Dewar and Brandon Duhaime from the minors earlier this week. Boldy is the most intriguing of the bunch after the 2019 first-round draft pick picked up six goals and 12 assists in 14 games with Iowa in the American Hockey League after leaving Boston College in March to sign with the Wild and turn pro.
But Boldy has no NHL experience, and a debut now would come at a make-or-break crossroads in the playoffs.
"All the players that are here and that are available to us are here for a reason," Evason said. "They can play. We've brought them here with the opportunity that if people get hurt or a situation that we play them. We feel very comfortable with every guy that's on our taxi squad that's played for us this year, and we feel very comfortable with the people that we've brought up from Iowa. We feel very good about everybody."