RALEIGH, N.C. – The Wild didn’t practice Friday in Raleigh ahead of its final test on a three-game trip Saturday against the Hurricanes, but the team was still busy shuffling its roster.
After recalling Woodbury defenseman Brennan Menell Thursday with Jared Spurgeon on injured reserve with a hand injury, the Wild again added from the minors by bringing up center Nico Sturm and defenseman Greg Pateryn while also moving captain Mikko Koivu and Pateryn to injured reserve.
Koivu, who suffered a lower-body injury Tuesday in the 4-2 win over the Panthers, has been considered day-to-day and didn’t play Thursday when the Wild held off the Lightning 5-4 in Tampa. He's been sent home from the trip.
The earliest he'd be eligible to return to action is next Thursday when the Wild hosts the Oilers, but the team will still recognize Koivu during a pregame ceremony Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center for recently playing in his 1,000th regular-season game.
Pateryn was on a conditioning stint with Iowa in the American Hockey League, as he continued to work his way back from core muscle surgery. He played Wednesday against San Antonio and the plan was for him to also suit up Friday, but he was recalled then placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.
As for Sturm, he has six goals and 11 points in 23 games with Iowa this season after a solid showing at training camp where he was among the final cuts; the Wild ultimately wanted him to gain regular reps in the minors instead of playing a limited role in the NHL, and Sturm seems to have capitalized on that opportunity with Iowa.
In his last four games, he has two goals and two assists and leads team rookies in scoring.
Sturm, 24, was signed as a free agent by the Wild at the end of last season, making his NHL debut April 4 against the Bruins.
It’s possible he plays Saturday, even though the Wild was able to ice a lineup without Koivu Thursday. Inserting Sturm could enable the team to move Luke Kunin from center back to right wing and potentially reunite the line of Kunin, winger Jordan Greenway and center Joel Eriksson Ek – which was broken up Thursday to make up for Koivu’s absence.