Tyler Graovac Recalled To Minnesota Wild


Tyler Graovac has been recalled by the Wild with Brett Sutter out sick for Friday’s game against the Maple Leafs in St. Paul. The team hasn’t said, but you can assume that Sutter has caught the stomach bug going around the team.

The team hasn’t said yet if he’ll find his way into tonight’s roster. Jason Zucker practiced on the fourth line. Zucker has missed time with the aforementioned stomach bug. He’s likely in the fourth line because of questions about conditioning, which may mean that Graovac is able to get his way into the lineup. Without a call-up the team would have needed to play Stu Bickel.

Erik Haula will also be back in the lineup, centering the third line, after being a healthy scratch for three of the last four games in an effort to send a message that his game has not been good enough lately.

We’ll have a full breakdown of the line-up shifts in today’s game preview, coming this afternoon.

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I wrote earlier about Graovac being sent back to Iowa, so I’ll just update that article here for you. (Read the full article from before here.)

Previous article:
After a two-game stint in the NHL that included his NHL debut, Tyler Graovac has been returned to the Iowa Wild of the AHL.

In his two-game stint Graovac didn’t register a point, though he had a number of close calls and was a noticeable presence on the ice.

He finished his cup of coffee with four shots and an average of 10:35 in ice time.

Graovac showed some positive possession in his two-game journey as well. He posted a 61.5% Corsi For in the win over Winnipeg and a 50% Corsi For in the loss to Columbus. He did that with even defensive and offensive zone deployment in both games.

Graovac’s return to the AHL, according to Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, has nothing to do with performance:

"[B]oth Yeo and GM Chuck Fletcher stressed that Graovac’s reassignment had nothing to do with the quality of his play. Fletcher wants the 21-year-old center to continue developing in the minors by playing a big role regularly, and Yeo plans to bring center Erik Haula back into the lineup Friday.Yeo made it a point to say he hopes Graovac’s debut puts a little heat on some veterans.”We look at how far he’s come along, and we’re very encouraged,” Yeo said. “I hope that he’s pushing some guys, because we know he can come in and play. And we’re talking about a big, skating centerman who can create and has the ability to make plays. So we’re encouraged with where he’s at.”"

As much as I love Graovac’s game, this makes a lot of sense. The Wild are struggling and need to find an identity. I think there might be slight upgrades if you work Graovac or Mathew Dumba into the lineup, but the overall improvement for the team — based on the amount of ice time they’d get — is marginal and you’re throwing player development to the wind for a marginal improvement now. We see over and over that when you rush a player into the NHL it has the potential to stunt their development long-term. Just look at Buffalo’s Mikhail Grigorenko. The team certainly hopes that some of these prospects can be key contributors in the future, so burning up some good development in favor of a little boost now is short-sighted.

That’s all probably more true of Dumba than Graovac. But Graovac has shown much more this season than I think many, at least outside the organization, believed he would. The team is doing something right with his development and there’s no reason to rush it.

There’s also the return of Erik Haula, which plays a big part in this decision. Haula’s absence as a penalty killer hurt the Wild in the New Year’s Eve loss to Columbus.

Graovac will be well-served by spending some more time in Iowa — and Iowa will be well-served by having him back. While Graovac was in the NHL Michael Keranen passed Graovac as the team-leader in points on the baby Wild, but Graovac remains in second and still leads the team in goals with 12.