GLENDALE, ARIZ. – Jonas Brodin watched most of the game on a TV instead of participating in it, getting knocked out of the action barely five minutes after puck drop.
"We missed him, clearly," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "Would the outcome have been different? Who knows? But we definitely missed him in that Game 7."
Brodin was idle for the final scenes of last season, sustaining a shoulder injury early in an eventual 6-2 loss at Vegas that eliminated the team from the playoffs.
The defenseman healed up over the summer, and as the Wild returned to face the Golden Knights for the first time on Thursday since that first-round clash — after playing at Arizona late Wednesday night — Brodin is skating as the stable defender with offensive upside that he showcased he can be earlier this year.
"He's using his asset and that's his legs," Evason said. "You hear about different defensemen around the league, that they're breakout machines, and he is that guy. Once he gets the puck on his tape, he can literally carry it out himself. He's taken a step forward offensively."
Through the first eight seasons of his NHL career, Brodin scored more than five goals only twice and he's never exceeded 30 points.
Last season, though, he became more of a factor on offense and scored a career-high nine goals, an uptick he credits to confidence.
"When I was younger, I was just more passing," Brodin said. "Didn't want to take the shot. But now I feel I can shoot more."
The 28-year-old has been especially on point when it comes to empty-netters.
That's how he buried his second goal of the season on Sunday in the 5-2 victory over the Islanders at Xcel Energy Center, a 170-foot shot. Last season, he had three empty-net goals that included two long-range finishes (154 feet and 161 feet).
"Last game I thought I had a little time to aim, but some situations you gotta chip it out sometimes, too," Brodin said. "But I just feel if I have time, I'm going to go for it."
Jordan Greenway was back in action Wednesday against the Coyotes after going on injured reserve and missing four games because of a high right ankle sprain.
The winger was hurt Oct. 28 in Seattle on a hit by Kraken captain Mark Giordano.
"I went and played the next couple shifts," Greenway recalled. "I knew there was something wrong, not enough where I couldn't play, I guess. Then it got pretty bad as time went on."
Greenway felt he recovered quickly but being a spectator while the Wild played without him was still tough.
"I've been pretty fortunate to not be injured too often," he said. "It was kind of new for me. You see the guys winning, and in some of the ways that they have — exciting finishes — and you always want to be a part of that from a firsthand experience. The fact that I was watching wasn't ideal at all."
At 6-6 and 231 pounds, Greenway is most effective on the ice when he leverages his size and strength. He said there would be an adjustment re-engaging in contact, but he wasn't too worried about the transition.
"It's a little easier to have it in a boot, for sure, or a skate," Greenway said. "But when it first happened, there was a lot of pain walking, skating, skipping, sitting. Now it's pretty good."
Kaapo Kahkonen made a second consecutive start for the Wild against the Coyotes after backstopping the team to victory over the Islanders on Sunday.
The victory was Kahkonen's first of the season and 20th in his career in 31 games. He required the second-fewest appearances in team history to reach that mark, trailing only Devan Dubnyk (27 games).
"Doesn't really matter how often you play or if you play every night," Kahkonen said. "You just gotta try to do the same thing every time you get to go out there."