After beating the San Jose Sharks 3-1 last night at the Xcel Energy Center, the Minnesota Wild have a day off before flying to Anaheim for a matchup with the mighty Ducks. If the struggling New York Islanders can’t do it tonight, the task falls to Minnesota to deal the Ducks their first home regulation loss of the season. Easier said than done.
With no practice, the only news of the day appears to be the reassignment of rookie forward Erik Haula to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. After notching two assists and a plus-1 rating in six games with the big club, Haula will rejoin Iowa in Abbotsford, British Columbia as they take on the Heat. In 18 games prior to being called up, Haula would score four goals and six assists for 10 points.
With Haula’s demotion, the Wild head west with just 12 forwards, meaning Mike Rupp will likely find his way back in the lineup. I say “likely” because there is still a big possibility Minnesota recalls another forward from Iowa. No, it won’t be Haula–this whole demotion thing would be rather pointless then–but the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo has indicated it could very likely be Jason Zucker, the hero of Minnesota’s short-lived playoff run last season.
In 16 games with Iowa this season, Zucker has scored seven goals and five assists for 12 points and a negative-4 rating. If he receives the call, Dany Heatley will likely find himself back on the fourth line as Zucker slots in with Charlie Coyle and either Jason Pominville or Nino Niederreiter on the second line.
By the way, Haula’s reassignment was in no way a transaction designed to allow Minnesota the room to pick up former Wild player Pierre-Marc Bouchard off waivers. After signing with the Isles in free agency this summer, Bouchard has collected just four goals and five assists for nine points and a negative-9 rating in 28 games. In 565 games with the Wild, the 2002 8th overall selection would score 106 goals and 241 assists for 347 points and a plus-15 rating.