Wild recalls Jason Zucker from Iowa, which may shuffle around lines
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Mikael Granlund's injury seems to have had a ripple effect on the Wild's roster. In the latest turn, Jason Zucker has been recalled from Iowa, the team announced Tuesday. Former Gophers forward Erik Haula was reassigned to Iowa on Monday, which made room for Zucker.
That move could provide a chance to juggle the lines around and improve scoring away from St. Paul. In the past three road games, the Wild have scored just two goals, including two shutouts.
Hockey Prospectus projected the Wild to be one of the NHL's worst teams, based largely on data from the lockout-shortened season. Through that lens, the Wild have over-achieved.
But many felt the team was primed to take a big step forward, with young players like Jonas Brodin, Charlie Coyle and Granlund taking on larger roles. Injuries have hampered them a tad, but the stellar play of goalie Josh Harding has kept this team relevant in a very good Central Division.
A four-game losing streak to end November hurt them, but winning three out of four to open December is encouraging, especially over teams like Chicago and San Jose.
A quick survey of two notable power rankings has the Wild (18-9-5) at No. 10 in the NHL.
CBSSports.com moved the Wild up one spot from a week, to No. 10, and had this to say:
The Wild look good in beating two powerhouses like Chicago and San Jose but throw a 4-0 loss in Columbus in the middle. Regardless, good rebound from their first losing skid.
Meanwhile, ESPN.com had no change to the team's ranking from a week ago, at No. 10, and added:
Though they were blanked on the road by the Blue Jackets, the Wild continue to be stellar at home, improving to 13-3-2 at the Xcel Energy Center following Josh Harding's 37-save performance to dispatch the Sharks on Sunday.
Minnesota will play the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday, with a 9:30 p.m. local time puck drop.
Readers, if you were behind the Wild's bench, what would your line combinations be without Grandlund?