Another Injury for Wild’s Defensemen

Creator: Andy Clayton-King | Credit: Associated Press

It was reported yesterday that Captain and top pair defenseman Jared Spurgeon was not practicing. Head Coach John Hynes said after the practice that it was a maintenance day for Spurgeon and that he should be able to play against the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

The Minnesota Wild ended up recalling two defensemen (Dakota Mermis and Daemon Hunt) along with a forward (Vinni Lettieri) yesterday afternoon. The fact that two defensemen were called up raised suspicions that Spurgeon might not actually be able to play in the game.

Those suspicions picked up even further on Thursday morning as Spurgeon was the only player besides Jonas Brodin (who was placed on Long Term Injured Reserve Wednesday afternoon) who was not on the ice for pregame skate. This was later confirmed by Joe Smith from the Athletic. Spurgeon is out against the Flames but is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. This means his injury isn’t as serious as the one he sustained during the preseason that kept him out of the first six games of the season. Hynes said that Spurgeon was just slightly banged up.

The Wild have already played tonight’s opponent once this season. Last week, the Wild beat the Flames 5-2 in Calgary during the first game of their four-game road trip. During that game, Matt Boldy scored two goals with one goal apiece for Marcus Foligno, Kirill Kaprizov, and Joel Eriksson Ek. After the third goal came only 1:30 into the second period, Calgary opted to switch out their goaltender. Filip Gustavsson played in net the entire game, coming away with a save percentage of .933.

The big difference for this game is that the Wild will be missing two of their top defensemen in, Brodin and Spurgeon. Jake Middleton and Brock Faber, who were paired during the last Wild game against the Seattle Kraken, will likely step up and could end up taking on even more than their usual share of 20-25 minutes of ice time. Mermis is expected to slot in next to Alex Goligoski, who skated next to Spurgeon in Seattle. The third pairing will be Jon Merrill and Zach Bogosian. Gustavsson will once again start in net against Calgary.

Daemon Hunt will be a healthy scratch as the seventh defenseman. Forward Vinni Lettieri was also recalled from Iowa but was only brought up for insurance purposes. With Brodin’s salary moved to LTIR, the Wild were able to call up more players than usual from Iowa to make sure they don’t have to play short-handed. 

Before the Wild play the Flames, they are currently 5-2-0 under new Head Coach John Hynes. Keeping a winning record may be tough for a team who has already dealt with so many injuries this season. Tonight’s game against the Flames will be a test on whether the players can step up and cover another injury.

In other news, the Wild also made an unexpected move in their front office by parting ways with Assistant General Manager Chris O’Hearn. As one of the staff who was most in tune with contracts, the salary cap and adjustments with LTIR, and waiver clock situation (such as whether Mermis will need waivers again once he’s sent back to Iowa), losing him puts an extra strain on an already thin front office.

For more on the Wild’s game against the Seattle Kraken and how the Wild might fair without Brodin, listen to the latest episode of Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy! Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki talks about the abundance of amazing hockey between the NHL Playoffs and the IIHF Men's World Championships. She also touches on a few fun facts and rambles a bit too much after too many days between podcast episodes. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR   
  1. Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy!
  2. It's The Playoffs, Baby!
  3. Hockey Culture is Disgusting and Needs to Change
  4. A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season
  5. Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever

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