Brett Sutter, Stu Bickel Recalled By Minnesota Wild


As we covered last night, it appears that the Wild have lost Jason Zucker and Ryan Carter long-term after both suffered an upper body injury in Monday’s game against the Canucks.

In response, on Tuesday, the Wild have placed both forwards on injured reserve. They have also recalled forwards Brett Sutter and Stu Bickel from the Iowa Wild.

As I said in the post Zucker and Carter, the penalty kill is going to take a huge hit with the loss of those two. The Wild were likely to bring up a player who can fill the void there. Expect Sutter to get some time on the PK. They were also looking for some size and that’s where Bickel comes in. Right or wrong, Bickel as been their go-to every time they needed some size.

Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg is the second night of a back-to-back with travel. That always leaves a team tired. Losing two forwards in the first period of Monday’s game put an extra strain on the forward group. Winnipeg is already a big, physical team, which the Wild would be game-planning for under any circumstances. The loss of Carter and the absence of Matt Cooke means that the team had to be thinking about the physical side of the game when deciding who to call-up. As much as I’d love to see Michael Keranen get a shot at his cup of coffee, this wouldn’t be the best time for it.

Winnipeg will plan on getting physical with the Wild early. They’ll want to get a hit on the top players in their first shift in an effort to slow the Wild down and to make the game take a toll on them in the first period.

However, the team does have Tyler Graovac in Iowa and he’s played well for Iowa and looked good in his short call-up earlier this season. Graovac is also 6-foot-5 and could bring some size to the table. With how well the penalty kill has been going and how key it’s been to their success, it’s hard to imagine that they’ll be putting Bickel out on the PK. He hasn’t yet been used in that capacity by the team through his nine games this season.

Carter and Zucker are two of five active Wild forwards who average more than a minute per game on the penalty kill. (Cooke would make that six if he were active.) Carter logs the third most time on the PK and Zucker plays the fifth most minutes among forwards.

Justin Fontaine has been activated off injured reserve and will also likely draw into the lineup against Winnipeg. He could eat some of the PK minutes.

Wednesday’s game will be difficult for a tired team who now has three forwards out of the lineup and on injured reserve.