Zach Parise still didn’t join his teammates on the ice Thursday morning at Xcel Energy Center. But Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said the winger is getting closer to participating in practice for the first time since training camp began last Friday.
Boudreau said Parise, slowed by a back injury, was “looking to talk to the doctors tonight’’ about beginning practice. “I think he’s feeling better,’’ Boudreau said. “It’s still a day-to-day type thing, but from my reports, he’s skating good on his own, and he can’t wait to join the group.’’
The group of players not in the lineup for tonight’s home game against Winnipeg held a practice Thursday morning, before the pregame skate for those who are playing. Those getting a second look after playing Monday’s preseason opener in Winnipeg include defensemen Carson Soucy and Ryan Murphy, forwards Charlie Coyle, Marcus Foligno, Luke Kunin, Daniel Winnik, Zack Mitchell and Tyler Ennis; and goalie Niklas Svedberg.
Regulars who will play for the first time this preseason include Matt Cullen, Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon.
Soucy, the former Minnesota Duluth defenseman, looked strong and poised in his debut Monday. Boudreau likes what he’s seen from the 6-4, 212-pound prospect, though he plans for Soucy to hone his game in Iowa before seeing time with the Wild.
“Carson Soucy has improved,’’ Boudreau said. “He’s going to need time. He’s a first-year guy, and defense is an awful hard position to come in as a first-year guy. So I think he’s going to need games in the American League. But he’s definitely a high prospect.’’
Murphy hasn’t generated as much chatter as others contending for spots on the blue line, such as Mike Reilly and Gustav Olofsson. But Boudreau wants to give him a good look in camp. Murphy was chosen 12th overall by Carolina in the 2011 NHL draft but has struggled to establish himself as an everyday NHL defenseman.
“Murph is sort of flying under the radar right now, because everybody else is getting the attention,’’ Boudreau said. “I thought he played a pretty good game in Winnipeg. He’s going to get the opportunity to play a few more games, just to see where he stands and stacks up against these guys.’’
Alex Stalock, the leading contender in the No. 2 goaltender race, is expected to start tonight.