The Wild’s new look after a series of trades earlier this week will finally roll out Saturday, as center Victor Rask will make his debut against the Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center.
“It’s going to be fun to get started here,” Rask said. “I’ve only heard good things about this organization and the fans, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Since he didn’t arrive in the Twin Cities until Friday afternoon, Rask didn’t get in a practice with his new teammates before his first Wild game. He did skate Saturday morning, though, and will start on a line with wingers Zach Parise and Pontus Aberg – who Rask played with before during international play and summer hockey.
Aberg was acquired from the Ducks Wednesday, while Rask came aboard the next day in a swap with the Hurricanes that sent winger Nino Niederreiter to Carolina.
“I could definitely sense something,” Rask said when asked if the trade surprised him. “I hadn’t played much lately. Definitely had a little feeling about it, but you never know if it’s going to happen.”
His addition to the Wild’s lineup won’t be the only change vs. Columbus.
Boudreau on Rask, who will make his #mnwild debut tonight vs. #CBJ: pic.twitter.com/CthMYZ4O4c— Sarah McLellan (@sarah__mclellan) January 19, 2019
Defenseman Louie Belpedio will make his season debut after getting recalled Friday from the American Hockey League.
In 40 games with Iowa, Belpedio racked up 10 points (three goals) and ranked first among team defensemen in shots (80). He made his NHL debut last season with the Wild, becoming the first rookie in franchise history to tally two points (both assists) in his first game.
“We needed a guy a with a little bit more offensive jump,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, “and Louie is supposedly that kind of player.”
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Charlie Coyle
Zach Parise-Victor Rask-Pontus Aberg
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Greg Pateryn
Nick Seeler-Louie Belpedio
196: Career points for winger Jason Zucker.
11: Shots last game for winger Zach Parise.
3: Points for defenseman Ryan Suter in his last four games.
4: Goals for the Blue Jackets in their win over the Wild earlier this season.
6-1: Columbus’ record vs. the Central Division.
About the Blue Jackets:
Columbus had its four-game win streak snapped Friday in a 4-1 loss to Montreal, a setback that dropped the team to second in the Metropolitan Division. Overall, the Blue Jackets have 59 points from a 28-16-3 record. They’re 12-4-1 in their last 17 games and 14-3-1 following a loss. In those situations, the team has outscored opponents 74-51. Columbus has scored four or more goals in 13 of those games.