Defenseman Brennan Menell grew up cheering for the Wild, and now he’ll get to play a game for the team.
Menell, who was recently recalled from the minors while Jared Spurgeon is out with a hand injury, will make his NHL debut Tuesday against the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center.
“It’s going to be a special time,” said Menell, who’s from Woodbury and is expecting a group of about 20 family members and friends in attendance for the game.
Before getting added from the American Hockey League, Menell was in the midst of a solid season with Iowa – tallying 19 points in 23 games. In 2018-19, Menell 44 points set the franchise record for most points by a defenseman in a season.
He’ll be the 86th player to debut with the Wild and third this season.
“We just thought it was really important for us to get another right-handed defenseman in the lineup,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
The Wild will make a few other changes to its look ahead of hosting the Ducks, with Kaapo Kahkonen making his first home start and Ryan Donato centering winger Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala. That means Victor Rask will anchor the fourth line after he and Nico Sturm shared that spot at practice Monday. Later that day, the Wild reassigned Sturm to the AHL.
“I’m not saying he’s not going to get a look as far as this week, but we weren’t going to play him today and the reason is Ryan Donato is playing pretty good,” Boudreau said. “Sometimes it’s great to bring a guy up, but you can’t take guys out of the lineup that don’t deserve to be out of the lineup at this stage. Iowa playing tonight, we thought it was prudent he plays games rather than sitting around.”
This is the start of a three-game homestand for the Wild, and the team will recognize captain Mikko Koivu before the game during a pregame ceremony for recently playing in his 1,000th game. The ceremony will begin at 7:08 p.m., with puck drop at 7:16 p.m.
All fans in attendance will receive a commemorative Koivu print.
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Ryan Donato-Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Victor Rask-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Carson Soucy
Brad Hunt-Brennan Menell
10-3-4: Record for the Wild over its last 17 games.
3: Goals for winger Mats Zuccarello over his last three games.
99: Career assists for winger Marcus Foligno.
27: Goals scored by the Wild in the second period over its last 17 games, which is tied for first in the NHL.
4: Points for winger Jason Zucker over his past three games.
About the Ducks:
This is the last stop on a two-game road trip for the Ducks, who fell 3-2 in Winnipeg on Sunday. Overall, Anaheim has lost three of its last four games to sit 12-14-4. Captain Ryan Getzlaf has points in nine of his last 10 games. Winger Jakob Silfverberg has a team-high 11 goals. The team has had a tough time on the road this season, going 4-8-2.