With Christian Folin’s game having plateaued and the Wild in need of better execution on the back end, Folin and Gustav Olofsson swapped spots Saturday.
Folin flew to Charlotte to meet up with the Iowa Wild, which had lost 12 consecutive games, and Olofsson was recalled to make his home debut against the Dallas Stars nine days after making his NHL debut in Boston.
“He’s a young player on our team, and our job is to win here, but our job is to also develop players and sometimes those guys can do it here and sometimes they need to spend a little time down in the American League,” coach Mike Yeo said of Folin.
“It’s a good opportunity for him to play some big minutes down there and get back on top of things.”
Folin has had noticeable struggles with the puck lately. He also has played 55 NHL games, 15 short of requiring waivers to get to the minors.
The Wild has previously regretted letting the waiver clock pass on such players as Darcy Kuemper and Erik Haula.
Yeo claimed to not know anything about Folin’s waiver status. He is on a one-way contract, so he’ll make his $725,000 NHL salary while with Iowa.
“It was the right time for him to go and play some games,” Yeo insisted. “He might be gone for one game, he might be gone for a few weeks, I don’t really know. He’ll get back up here.”
Olofsson, who turns 21 Tuesday, was excited to get the temporary call. He was sent back to Iowa after the game.
Olofsson had never played a regular-season game at Xcel Energy Center, but he watched many during the playoffs and during his rehabilitation following shoulder surgery.
“I’m excited to be out on the ice instead of watching,” he said.
Olofsson, born in Sweden, grew up in the United States. His grandfather, Gunnar, lives in Sweden and is in the U.S. visiting for the holidays. He wakes up nightly in Sweden at 3 a.m. to watch Olofsson play on the Internet. Olofsson’s dad, Hakan, and grandfather drove to the Twin Cities on Saturday from Omaha, where they were watching Olofsson’s brother, Freddy, play for Nebraska Omaha.
“It’s crazy how this worked out. It’ll be so much fun to play in front of him,” Olofsson said of his grandfather.
Olofsson said there’s a “ton of potential” on Iowa, “but we haven’t been able to piece together a consistent game and fall short and don’t play 60 minutes every night. But I think all the right pieces are there.”
Fontaine is back
Right wing Justin Fontaine, who missed 11 games because of a sprained knee ligament, returned for the first time since Oct. 30.
Yeo said Fontaine’s return and Friday’s return of Zach Parise would give the Wild a chance to “reassemble our lines the way they were earlier in the year,” but Ryan Carter was a late scratch with what the team called an “upper lower-body injury.” Jordan Schroeder played in his place.
Defenseman Marco Scandella (lower body), who has missed five games, skated with the team Saturday morning. Yeo said he could return Tuesday in Chicago.
Center Tyler Graovac, who has missed 21 games with a sports hernia, also skated with the team Saturday.
• Kurtis Gabriel was reassigned to Iowa.