Nick Seeler slept at home Monday night in his own bed before heading to Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday morning for a game that evening, following the same routine he’s had throughout the season.
But this time, Seeler didn’t report to the Wild’s dressing room. He ended up in the visiting team’s quarters as a member of the Blackhawks.
“It’s been a pretty crazy last couple of days,” Seeler said.
After the Wild placed Seeler on waivers Sunday to try to assign him to the minors, Chicago wrecked that plan by claiming the defenseman Monday.
And with the Blackhawks in St. Paul to face the Wild on Tuesday, the Eden Prairie native didn’t have to go far to begin a fresh start in his still-young NHL career.
“I’m really excited for the new opportunity and having it be such a storied franchise and great organization, I’ve heard nothing but good things,” said Seeler, who had a Blackhawks hat and hoodie at his locker stall but a Wild logo still on his sneakers. “I’m really excited to be a part of that and get to know the guys a little more in the next couple of weeks.”
Although he was on the ice for the pregame skate, Seeler didn’t make his Chicago debut against his old teammates.
Still, the 26-year-old likely will get more of a chance with the Blackhawks than he did in Minnesota, where he played in only six games this season after sliding down the depth chart.
“We had a chance to add a guy who’s an NHL defenseman, and he plays a physical, direct game,” Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton said. “We think he can help our team.”
Seeler stopped by TRIA Rink in St. Paul on Monday afternoon to say goodbye to Wild players and coaches, and he plans to stay in touch. He’ll also remember time he spent playing for his hometown team as a dream come true.
“Change is hard,” said the former Gopher who ended up playing 99 games with the Wild after getting drafted in the fifth round in 2011. “But I think this is a good change for me personally. Obviously, I can’t thank the Wild organization enough for the last nine years and believing in me and giving me a shot. Nothing but respect for the Wild and the organization. Some of my best friends are on that team. I’ll be watching them to see how they do.”
The Wild started backup goalie Alex Stalock on Tuesday at the outset of a critical seven-game, 12-day stretch after No. 1 Devan Dubnyk was in net for the 6-1 letdown to the Bruins on Saturday.
“We’re in the highest league in the world,” Stalock said, “and anytime you get a chance to start is a great opportunity.”
This was Stalock’s 24th start of the season, which set a career high. He previously made 23 starts last season and in 2017-18.
“I told him at the beginning of this year that he was probably going to play more than he did last year,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We really thought at the end of last year that Dubnyk has played more games than any goalie in the league the last four years, and if we could balance it out a little better, it would be better for all of us.”
Stalock took an unintentional knee to the head from Chicago captain Jonathan Toews as he sprawled to make a save in the first period. He took a few minutes to gather himself and stayed in the game.
Aside from replacing Dubnyk with Stalock, the Wild made one other substitution from the lineup that played Saturday. Brad Hunt took Greg Pateryn’s spot on the third defensive pairing.
“I don’t want the same thing to happen to Hunt that happened to Seeler,” Boudreau said. “He played the first  games for us and was quite good. So, we gotta keep guys in the lineup. And I told Pateryn that, too. There wasn’t anything about his game. It was just, ‘I gotta get Huntsy some playing time.’ ”