It’s been a busy day personnel-wise for the Minnesota Wild today, and we’re still not sure exactly how the lineup is going to look tonight. But pieces are coming together as the day wears on.
Most recently, the Wild has activated Marek Zidlicky from injured reserve and reassigned Nate Prosser to Houston of the AHL. That means Zidlicky likely gets into the lineup tonight against Chicago after missing 13 games with a concussion.
Prosser leaves after accompanying the Wild on its recent five-game road swing, but he never got into the lineup.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard has been ruled out of the lineup due to facial injuries suffered last night, but it does appear that Matt Cullen is feeling well enough to play. If not, we’ll likely see Warren Peters get into tonight’s game.
Some other news to take note of: Brett Bulmer was among the final cuts from Canada’s World Junior Championship roster. Zack Phillips was cut from the tryout camp earlier this week. That means the Wild is expected to have six prospects – Jason Zucker and Charlie Coyle with the United States, Jonas Brodin, Johan Gustafsson and Johan Larsson with Sweden and Mikael Granlund with Finland – taking part in the World Juniors beginning on December 26.
The bright side of Bulmer and Phillips being cut is we can now put our full force cheering behind the United States, and to a lesser extent Sweden and Finland.
Finally, because it can’t be talked about enough, check out today’s Prospects Report and pay special attention to the goaltenders.
Not only have Nik Backstrom, Josh Harding and Matt Hackett been burning it up at the NHL level (Barry Melrose said on SportsCenter last night that Minnesota is the only team with a better goaltending tandem than Boston’s duo of Tim Thomas and Tukka Rask), but every Wild goaltending prospect is shining as well.
Darcy Kuemper was named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week after stopping 99 of 102 shots in three games last week. Dennis Endras, who started the year in Houston and was later loaned to Mikael Granlund’s HIFK team in Finland, has gone 3-2-0 with a 1.82 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. Gustafsson ranks fourth in the Swedish League in both goals against average (1.99) and save percentage (.930). And then there’s Harvard’s 18-year-old Stephen Michalek, who is the rare true freshman playing goaltender at the Division I level. Michalek stopped 31 shots in a 4-3 win over Princeton and is now 4-2-2. Harvard has only won the games that he’s started.