The Minnesota Wild have recalled defenseman Nate Prosser following his conditioning trip with the Iowa Wild, he will join the team for the last leg of their record road trip through California this week.
Nate Prosser has been a consummate professional for the entirety of his NHL career with the Minnesota Wild. Despite always being on the cusp, he takes it in stride and does whatever is best for the team.
Prosser has only played one game this season, as a 7th defender required to fill a forward role. He played only 3 minutes in that one game, so his trip to Iowa was intended to get him some ice time.
It is encouraging that the team wants to keep him involved, and ready to step in at a moment’s notice. It would be detrimental to the team overall if he were forced into action cold, so it is smart to keep him ready to play.
The emergence of Nick Seeler and the arrival of Greg Pateryn, and the overall success of that pairing together, has been a positive for the Minnesota Wild but a negative for Prosser. It’s hard to get a 7th defender any consistent playing time when the Top 6 are playing with such consistency.
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Prosser could be sent down to Iowa full-time, but would be required to clear waivers to do so. He is a low-cost depth option, with tons of experience in the Minnesota Wild organization and knows Bruce Boudreau’s coaching style and playbook better than any other defenders on the roster.
It would be a large risk to take to place Prosser on waivers and try to assign him to Iowa. Instead, he will continue to stay with the team, waiting patiently for his chance to dress for a game again.
Prosser played in 2 games while in Iowa, failing to record a point but getting a chance to play with a couple of young guys waiting in the minors. He spent his first game with Eric Martinsson, and then lined up alongside Carson Soucy for his second game in a pairing fans may remember seeing during preseason.
The Minnesota Wild have quite an interesting dilemma on their hands now with the return of Prosser to the team. They have won 7 of their last 8 games, including an offensive outburst over the weekend against St.Louis.
Inserting Prosser into the lineup would likely require scratching either Nick Seeler or Greg Pateryn, and would be a likely disruption to chemistry. Seeler is coming off a huge 3 point game, and Greg Pateryn just tied a franchise record with a +5 rating in that same game.
Not to mention, Pateryn is also a right-handed defender, so if the Wild were to choose to scratch Seeler would it be Prosser who goes in, or would they recall a left-handed defender to take that spot?
Mathew Dumba, Jared Spurgeon, and Pateryn fill the right-handed spots on the defense currently. Those 3 are all making large sums of money, which makes it extremely difficult to sit them out for a game if they are healthy. Which means Prosser is patiently waiting for an injury or a trade, and with the way this team is playing I wouldn’t wish that on any of the players.
So what can they do? I’ve looked before at a possible trade for Prosser to go to Edmonton, but it appears the Oilers are succeeding without making that trade, and Minnesota clearly don’t want to lose a player like Prosser. So do they leave him to get cold in the press box again, essentially wasting this conditioning trip?
I would think his best bet to see any playing time right now will be when the Wild baby boom hits for the year. Prosser himself is one of the 8 remaining expectant fathers, but so is Pateryn.
Unless the Minnesota Wild go into a slump and find themselves playing poorly and/or losing more frequently, Nate Prosser will find himself as an extra body in practice and sitting in the press box most nights.
It’s an unfortunate position to be in, but I believe we can count on #39 to be ready to go when his number gets called.