I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I had a full article ready to go, published it 10 minutes ago, and 520 of 600 words decided to delete themselves. How’s your Saturday morning going?
The Minnesota Wild take on the Carolina Hurricanes tonight, and 2012 7th overall pick Mathew Dumba will be in the lineup. With his insertion in the lineup, the first year of Dumba’s entry level deal is set to kick into effect tonight and he will be paid his full salary. Veteran defensemen Keith Ballard and Clayton Stoner will not be playing, meaning Nate Prosser will move to the left side for the first time in his NHL career. His solid defensive presence should provide good support at Dumba’s back as the youngster finds himself in the game after watching the past few from the press box.
It should be noted that Dumba can still be sent back to Red Deer of the Western Hockey League at any time this season. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher has stated he’s less worried about Dumba’s 10th game than he is his 41st, when the countdown to unrestricted free agency begins. However, it appears the youngster has made the team for the time being.
Josh Harding, the 38th overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, once again gets the nod in net, but Niklas Backstrom will find himself back in the crease at some point during Minnesota’s three-game home stand next week. Harding is among the league’s best this season with an 8-2-2 record, a 1.16 goals against average (2nd), a .949 save percentage (2nd) and two shutouts (1st). It doesn’t appear that he’s going to let his MS get in the way of his goal–being the No. 1 netminder in Minnesota, and leading the team to a Stanley Cup.
Forward Mike Rupp may also be close to a return after having offseason knee surgery. He’ll likely head to Iowa for a short conditioning stint before re-joining the team.