Minnesota Wild: Why Luke Kunin Shouldn’t Rush Back

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 14: Minnesota Wild Right Wing Luke Kunin (19) looks to pass with Philadelphia Flyers Defenceman Travis Sanheim (6) all over his back during a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers on November 14, 2017 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. The Wild defeated the Flyers 3-0.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 14: Minnesota Wild Right Wing Luke Kunin (19) looks to pass with Philadelphia Flyers Defenceman Travis Sanheim (6) all over his back during a NHL game between the Minnesota Wild and Philadelphia Flyers on November 14, 2017 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. The Wild defeated the Flyers 3-0.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Luke Kunin saw his season end for the Minnesota Wild last year with a torn left ACL. The team would be wise to slowly bring him back into the fold.

Minnesota Wild General Manager, Paul Fenton had this to say speaking about not only Luke Kunin, but Ryan Suter and Zach Parise too:

"We think the three players are going to be ready to go, Whether it’s to begin training camp or not is still to be determined. But for the most part, our guys, we think, will be ready to play – Paul Fenton (Minnesota Star Tribune)"

Fact is that Luke Kunin hasn’t yet seen a full professional season, whether with the Iowa Wild or Minnesota Wild. This has been part due to injury, part due to his emergence from the NCAA ranks.

The wise choice would be to bring him slowly back to action in the American Hockey League. A torn ACL is no minor little niggle.

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He performed impressively in Iowa last year, his form highlighted by his naming to the Central Division All-Star Team.

There is obviously risk with this approach; the AHL can often be quite physical and grind on a player’s body. This could actually prove negative in the case of Kunin.

Looking to the Minnesota Wild roster though, the approach gives him the benefit of getting some decent ice time and ensuring he’s at full strength before taking on the big league again.

In terms of center depth, the Minnesota Wild has the position covered until he is back at full fitness.

Between Mikko Koivu, Eric Staal, Joel Eriksson Ek and Eric Fehr; there is no obvious need to push him back into action quicker than he needs be.

He showed clear signs of being of the NHL level last time around and he is likely an upgrade on Eric Fehr, but is fourth-line center a place you want a top prospect to be hanging out?

All signs point towards the player wanting to push for a return in time for training camp. The Minnesota Wild most definitely would be wise to curb that expectation.

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The longer we spend letting Kunin get himself back to full health, the better off we should be in the long-run.