– With the Wild playing its first game of many without No. 1 center Mikael Granlund, coach Mike Yeo still scratched Erik Haula on Monday against the Jets in order to send a clear message to the underperforming center.

“We need the player that we know he can be and we need him more than ever,” Yeo said. “There’s been a lot of conversations and a lot of things that we’ve tried to do to get him to play at the level that we know he’s capable of.”

Granlund suffered a broken left wrist after landing awkwardly following a crushing check from Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien on Saturday. Granlund underwent surgery in Bloomington on Monday and will miss approximately four weeks. The injury came late in arguably Granlund’s best game in a month (one goal, one assist): “A very tough void for us to fill,” Yeo said.

Haula, who has three goals, an assist and is minus-5 in 30 games, wasn’t used to fill that void, at least Monday. Instead, Tyler Graovac made his NHL debut on the third line with Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine.

Haula’s speed hasn’t been a threat all season, and Yeo hasn’t been happy with him offensively or defensively. He was scratched last week against Philadelphia, too, and can’t be sent to Iowa without waivers.

“It’s not a confidence thing,” said Yeo, who watched video with Haula Monday. “It’s an understanding of how he has to play the game and a willingness to do it. He’s a young kid that had an awful lot of success and a lot of attention put on him last year, so sometimes you need a bit of a reminder and unfortunately, sometimes those reminders are a little bit cruel.”

NHL debut

Brett Sutter, recalled with Graovac on Sunday, has played 57 NHL games over parts of seven seasons. The 27-year-old was thrilled for Graovac, 21, before his first NHL contest.

“He was like a kid on Christmas morning Monday. It was a fun day [traveling] with him,” Sutter said.

Coincidentally, Graovac’s first pro fight came last season against Sutter, then captain of the Charlotte Checkers. Sutter won the fight handily.

“I can’t feel these three teeth because of it,” Graovac said, touching three upper chiclets.

The 6-5 Graovac, Iowa’s leading scorer, said he can bring size, speed and an ability to play a top-six or bottom-six role to the Wild.

“I have a lot of confidence in my game right now,” he said.

Worth a gamble?

The Wild, maybe in the market for a goalie, talked internally about perhaps putting a waiver claim on Buffalo’s Matt Hackett on Tuesday. The Sabres are hoping to sneak the 24-year-old Hackett, a third-round pick by the Wild sent to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville trade, to AHL Rochester so he can play lots of games as he tries to return from a torn ACL in April.

The problem is the Wild would need him to play, too, and wouldn’t be able to get him to Iowa without waivers either. Without that ability, it’s makes little sense to have Hackett occupy a spot on the 23-man roster when he needs to play. If the Wild was able to get Hackett to Iowa, claiming him would be a no-brainer. Without that ability, it’s hard to take him despite the Wild’s lack of depth and poor play at the position.


• Defenseman Jonas Brodin (upper body) missed Monday’s game but was feeling better, Yeo said. There’s a chance he meets the team Wednesday in Columbus. Left winger Jason Zucker and goalie Niklas Backstrom, both sick, aren’t on the trip and are doubtful to join the team in Columbus.