With its first game back from the Olympic break just a few days away, the Minnesota Wild has recalled rookie forward Erik Haula and defenseman Steven Kampfer from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.
With sophomore winger Jason Zucker expected to miss the team’s upcoming two-game road trip, Haula was recalled for added depth. In seven games with Iowa during the Olympic break, Minnesota’s seventh round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft would score five goals and five assists for an impressive 10 points. In between stints with the big club, Haula leads all Iowa skaters in goals with 14, and his 27 points in 31 games ranks second behind defenseman Brian Connelly. In 25 games with Minnesota, the former Minnesota Golden Gopher has two goals and two assists for four points and a plus-5 rating.
Nino Niederreiter has rejoined the club in practice after a few days off following Switzerland’s early exit from the Sochi games. Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund, however, have been given a few days off and will likely resume practicing with the club Wednesday before Minnesota’s matchup with the Oilers in Edmonton on Thursday. With Suter resting and Marco Scandella’s abstaining from today’s practice due to injury, another defenseman was needed for practice. Hence the call-up of Steven Kampfer.
Kampfer, who made his NHL debut with the Eastern Conference’s Boston Bruins, has scored five goals and 14 assists for 19 points and a negative-9 rating in 49 games with Iowa this season. In 13 career NHL games with Minnesota, Kampfer has scored two goals and an assists for three points and a negative-7 rating.
Finally, it seems team captain Mikko Koivu is getting close to making his return to game action, but, if the Wild’s season resumed today, he’d still be out of the lineup. The hope is that he’ll be able to heal a bit more and get to the point where he has no problem participating in game-like situations. With his return comes the question, “What line will he be on?” He may have to fight a certain Finnish Olympic All-Tournament Team All Star for the position of No. 1 center. That’s going to be a fun situation to watch as it unfolds.