DENVER – Wild defenseman Carson Soucy didn’t have to wait long to make his season debut.
After being idle for the opener on the heels of winning a roster spot during training camp, Soucy will be in the lineup Saturday when the Wild takes on the Avalanche at Pepsi Center – one of a few tweaks the team made following its 5-2 loss to the Predators Thursday.
“We’re still going for our first win, so there’s going to be nerves,” Soucy said. “But hopefully just control them and play the way I have been.”
Soucy will draw in on the third pairing next to Brad Hunt, replacing Nick Seeler. This was the team’s plan all along, to have Seeler take the first game and Soucy to get the second.
“Then let’s see,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I figure Hunt’s the only one who can play the right side, so that’s why he’s in there or all three of them would be potentially taking their turns.
“This is no message to Seeler. This is no message at all. Second game of the season, getting everybody involved. I’m sure if things don’t work out [Victor Rask’s] going to get a chance pretty soon, too.”
The Wild will encounter a speedy Avalanche squad but also a group ripe with size, and that rugged side of the game is where Soucy could shine.
“I always look forward to kind of the more physical games,” he said. “That kind of gets me in the game more. So hopefully right off the bat we’re playing physical and we’re moving the puck well.”
Ryan Donato-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Jason Zucker-Mikko Koivu-Kevin Fiala
Zach Parise-Luke Kunin-Jordan Greenway
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
300: Career games for goalie Devan Dubnyk with the Wild.
5: Shots for winger Jason Zucker Thursday, a team-high.
3: Points racked up by Wild defensemen in the season opener.
3: Goals in four games vs. Colorado last season for center Eric Staal.
2-2: The Wild’s record vs. the Avalanche last season.
About the Avalanche:
Colorado opened its season Thursday with a 5-3 win over Calgary at home, a strong start to what could be a special campaign for the Avalanche. Aside from re-signing right winger Mikko Rantanen shortly before the season started, the team also brought in Joonas Donskoi, Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Cale Makar is also primed for his first full-length season after debuting in the playoffs. Center Nathan MacKinnon is coming off a 41-goal run. Phillipp Grubauer, who has a .921 career save percentage, is back between the pipes.