It's Tuch Time.
Alex Tuch, the Wild's 2014 first round draft pick (18th overall), was recalled from AHL Iowa on Thursday morning and will likely make his NHL debut Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks. He'll wear No. 53.
"Couldn't be any more excited about being called up," Tuch said via text. "I'm happy I get to share the experience with my parents who have done everything for me since the beginning. Still hasn't set in yet but can't wait to get to Vancouver."
Tuch, 20, a 6-foot-4, 217-pound right wing, has 11 goals and 11 assists in 34 games as an Iowa Wild rookie this season. He had a solid training camp, but the Wild wanted to be patient with him and have him spend at least half the season learning the pro game in Iowa.
He probably would have been here sooner if not for hurting a shoulder since Christmas. He missed some time, then aggravated the injury in his first game back Jan. 7. He returned Jan. 27, played back-to-back games, and had three goals and an assist in those two games.
He then scored two goals in Monday's AHL All-Star Game. Tuch said his parents, Carl and Sharon, would be flying to Vancouver for Friday's game.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher talked about Tuch last week in Dallas, saying, “At some point we have to see where he’s at. He’s a 6-foot-4 guy with skill that’s led our team in all the different metrics in Iowa, whether it’s Corsi, scoring chances or plus-minus.”
After Wednesday's 5-1 loss to Calgary, I asked coach Bruce Boudreau specifically about Tuch and he said his recall was coming "sooner than later."
"He's coming along pretty well. I'm hearing good things about him," Boudreau said.
Last night's blog guessed he'd be recalled today because Charlie Coyle is struggling mightily. In the past 17 games, Coyle has no goals, 10 assists and only 23 shots on goals. Boudreau lit Coyle up after a loss to Nashville, and his game hasn't changed since. Last night, he was demoted to the fourth line after being involved in a handful of first-period turnovers.
I asked Boudreau what he does about Coyle right now, and he snapped frustratingly, "I don't know. I'm at a loss. We'll figure it out. I'm told he's gone through this every year. I'll have a talk with him [Thursday] and see if we can't get him straightened out.
"I've tried to stay away from him a little bit and let him fight his way out of this, but evidently that can't happen anymore. I'm going to have to talk to him."
Asked if Coyle would need a wakeup call by Tuch's arrival, Boudreau said, "Other guys might need to see it, too. Not just him."
Boudreau indicated it's hard to have only 12 forwards on the roster when there's no fear for players of sitting in the press box or being benched.
The Wild's off Thursday. We'll find out Friday if Tuch starts on the top line with Nino Niederreiter and Eric Staal (who has also been quiet lately) or if he starts on the third or fourth line. Or, we'll find out if Coyle's in danger of being scratched or starting on the third or fourth line in Vancouver.
Tuch scored 32 goals and 62 points in 77 games in two years at Boston College. The Syracuse, N.Y., native led the Eagles in scoring with 28 points in 2014-15.