With Five Losses in Six Games, Minnesota Wild Juggles Lines


Apr 11, 2013; St. Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom (32) and defenseman Ryan Suter (20) make a save on St. Louis Blues forward David Perron (57) during the first period at the Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

If you’ve been following the Cities’ Minnesota Wild beat writers on Twitter this morning, you know that Head Coach Mike Yeo has been switching things up, likely looking to establish better chemistry amongst his players.

From what it sounds like, Charlie Coyle has once again been promoted to the first line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu—a line that had been rolling quite well prior to the Jason Pominville trade. The second line has been nearly fully replaced by a line made up of Pominville, Kyle Brodziak and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. This could be an interesting line, considering it’s made up of a legitimate first line winger, a third line center and a struggling second line winger who has contributed just one assist since Jason Zucker was reassigned to Houston. I’m not so sure it’s interesting in a good way.

The third line is centered by Mikael Granlund with Zenon Konopka and Devin Setoguchi on the wings. The Star Tribune’s Michael Russo has a theory on why Konopka has been moved from his tradition fourth line center spot.

That could very well be the case, and Minnesota would certainly welcome the excitement Zucker brings every time he takes to the ice. The third of three Minnesota Wild second round picks in 2010 has been impressive in both the NHL and AHL this season, notching 24 goals and 26 assists for 50 points in 55 games with Houston, and four goals and an assist for five points and a very impressive plus-5 rating in 14 games with Minnesota.

The fourth line looks to be Mike Rupp, Torrey Mitchell and Cal Clutterbuck, meaning Konopka could very likely be the odd man out against Columbus tomorrow night.

Suter Update

Russo also confirmed that neither Ryan Suter, who missed part of the second period and all of the third last night against the Blues, or Matt Cullen were at practice today. Coach Yeo said last night that he didn’t think Minnesota’s No. 1 defenseman to miss any games, so this very well could be a maintenance day for him. However, it looks like in his absence Jonas Brodin has transitioned to the left defensive spot on the top pairing with Jared Spurgeon playing to his right.

With eight games to go, Minnesota’s playoff hopes could rest squarely on the shoulders of their Norris Trophy candidate in Suter. If he misses any amount of time, it could be very detrimental to the team’s chances of making the playoffs.


The Red Deer Rebels were eliminated by the Calgary Hitmen last night in the second round of the WHL playoffs, losing by a score of 5-1 and dropping the series four games to one. With the conclusion of his major junior season, 2012 7th overall pick Mathew Dumba will likely join the Houston Aeros on a PTO as they vie for the Calder Cup.

Looking at the Wild’s contract chart and the amount of call-ups they can make, it’s highly unlikely he’ll make his NHL debut this season. If Zucker is indeed called up as expected, it will be nearly impossible for Dumba to be recalled.