CHICAGO – The Wild will send Joel Eriksson Ek to Iowa of the American Hockey League, coach Bruce Boudreau said Thursday.
The 21-year-old has only one goal in 27 games this season despite being the team’s third-line center, and is a minus-6.
He was the Wild’s first-round pick (20th overall) in 2015.
“Hopefully he’ll play a lot and our goal is for him to, like when [winger Jordan] Greenway went down, score some goals and gain some confidence and do that sort of thing,” Boudreau said. “Then we’ll figure it out.”
Boudreau said the move was designed to help Eriksson Ek regain his confidence, which Boudreau admitted looked lost of late.
“That’s why I think the decision was made. He looks a little down,” Boudreau said. “He plays hard and defends and does a lot of really good things. We just think we want to give him some offensive upside and hopefully in the minors he can find it.”
The Wild plays the Blackhawks tonight at United Center. The team flew to Chicago this morning after the NHL Christmas freeze ended.
Wild lines tonight, based on the morning skate, will be Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund; Zach Parise-Charlie Coyle-Luke Kunin; Jordan Greenway-Mikko Koivu-Nino Niederreiter; and Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J. T. Brown.