COLUMBUS, OHIO – Monday, Wild coach Mike Yeo mentioned potentially putting a winger at center on the second power-play unit to start the year.
That might not be necessary.
The Wild's power play went 3-for-5 on Thursday night, and Charlie Coyle, centering the No. 1 power-play unit, assisted on all three of them and went 12-for-16 in the faceoff circle during a 5-2 preseason victory over the Blue Jackets.
"He looked more assertive and more confident than I've seen him so far in camp, and that's what he's capable of," Yeo said of Coyle.
Coyle assisted on goals by Christian Folin, Nino Niederreiter and Jonas Brodin. Erik Haula added a third-period even-strength goal, Jason Zucker capped a three-point night with an empty-netter and Devan Dubnyk, seeing his first preseason action, made 22 saves. All the Wild goal scorers were 24 and younger.
"From top to bottom, pretty solid effort," Yeo said.
The Wild suffered one injury, though. Justin Fontaine left the bench in the second period and didn't return. He was kneed 63 seconds into the game and played until his leg tightened. He has a charley horse and a sore side, Yeo said.
David Clarkson, who drew a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench for Toronto during a 2013 preseason game, was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. The incident will be reviewed by the NHL.
Coyle won 46.5 percent of his draws last year. In two preseason games, he has won 59 percent and 75 percent.
"That's what I wanted to get better at all summer," Coyle said. "Last year, I'd go into the circle and think of three different ways to try to win it and then wouldn't pick one and be decisive. It's mental. I'm focusing on just going for it, doing it 100 percent and winning it."
Zac Dalpe, whose mother, Lisa, died of kidney cancer on Sept. 15 at the age of 51, played his first preseason game.
"It was tough," Dalpe said of his week. "I'm going to put that behind us and move forward like men, like my dad said, and go from there."
Yeo loved Dalpe's game in 14:25 of ice time. He fought Rene Bourque after he hit Gustav Olofsson from behind and was elevated when Fontaine got hurt.
"I don't think I've ever been out there that much at this level," Dalpe joked.
Graovac gets chance
Tyler Graovac, the only Wild player to skate in all three preseason games so far, got a great opportunity by centering Zucker and Niederreiter.
Graovac finished with no points but looked good at times.
"He's a guy that if he has a chance to make our team, he's a guy we feel can chip in a few shifts," Yeo said before the game. "He can provide a little offense for us, so give him some guys that can help him get to that game."
• The Wild trimmed its roster to 44, assigning Raphael Bussieres, Tanner Eberle, Guillaume Gelinas, Alex Gudbranson, Brody Hoffman and Stephen Michalek to AHL Iowa, Pavel Jenys to OHL Sudbury and releasing Sam Warning from his tryout. Jenys is 19 but was eligible for the AHL because he was drafted out of Europe. But after seeing him in camp, the Wild felt he would develop better in junior being a "bigger fish in a small pond," said Brent Flahr, assistant general manager.
• Ryan Carter (sore) was supposed to play but was held out for precautionary reasons, Yeo said. Jordan Schroeder (groin) might practice Friday.
• Yeo admitted the Wild made an organizational decision not to play Mike Reilly in Columbus. Reilly, a former Gophers player and Blue Jackets draft pick, opted not to sign with them and become a free agent, a move that angered Columbus fans and players alike.