Blues Gameday Preview: Minnesota Wild – 10/4/22

Following their first loss of the 2022-23 preseason, the St. Louis Blues are looking to rebound tonight against the Minnesota Wild. The Blues were defeated by the Dallas Stars on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Kansas City, MO, by a score of 5-2. Forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Logan Brown were the team’s lone goalscorers in an otherwise uninspiring performance in front of a sell-out crowd. Goalie Joel Hofer played the entire game and stopped 19 of 24 shots.

St. Louis Blues' Gameday Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington
Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington (The Hockey Writers)

The team trimmed the roster by five after their loss to the Dallas Stars. Top forward prospect Zachary Bolduc was returned to his junior team, the Quebec Ramparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Forward Nathan Todd, defensemen Steven Santini and Luke Witkowski, and goalie Vadim Zherenko were all reassigned to the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League (AHL).

In other roster related news, defenseman Scott Perunovich will undergo surgery to repair a fractured shoulder. As of now, he will be re-evaluated in six months. This is a major blow to both Perunovich and the Blues. He was off to a great start after putting in a lot of work this summer to improve his defensive play. They’ll now rely even more upon their depth to fill out the roster, giving more opportunities to roster-hopefuls Calle Rosen, Tyler Tucker, and Matthew Kessel.

Related: Blues Weekly: Perunovich, Preseason, Chychrun, & More

The Blues (4-1-0) will take on another division foe tonight in the Wild (4-0-0). The Wild shutout the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Sunday, Oct. 2 in Milwaukee, WI.

St. Louis Blues Anticipated Lineup

Forwards

  • Brandon Saad – Ryan O’Reilly – Jordan Kyrou
  • Pavel Buchnevich – Robert Thomas – Josh Leivo
  • Jake Neighbours – Brayden Schenn – Nathan Walker
  • Matthew Highmore – Noel Acciari – Klim Kostin

Defense

  • Torey Krug – Justin Faulk
  • Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko
  • Niko Mikkola – Matthew Kessel

Goalies

  • Jordan Binnington – Joel Hofer

Minnesota Wild Anticipated Lineup

Forwards

  • Tyson Jost – Marco Rossi – Nic Petan
  • Connor Dewar – Sam Steel – Brandon Duhaime
  • Adam Backman – Mason Shaw – Mitchell Chaffee
  • Brandon Baddock – Steve Fogarty – Nick Swaney

Defense

  • Jake Middleton – Calen Addison
  • Ryan O’Rourke – Andrej Sustr
  • Carson Lambos – Dakota Mermis

Goalies

  • Marc-Andre Fleury – Filip Gustavsson

Quick Look at the Wild

Similar to the Blues, the Minnesota Wild are off to a great start in the 2022-23 preseason at 4-0-0. The biggest difference between this team and the Wild team of last season is the loss of forward Kevin Fiala. He was a point-per-game player for the Wild (85 points in 82 games) and was their main scoring threat behind Kirill Kaprizov. After not being able to successfully negotiate an extension, the Wild dealt Fiala to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for top prospect defenseman Brock Faber and the Kings’ 2022 first-round pick (19th overall, used to select forward Liam Ohrgen).

Kevin Fiala Minnesota Wild
Kevin Fiala, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Beyond Kaprizov, the Wild still have Mats Zuccarello (79 points in 70 games) and Ryan Hartman (65 points in 82 games) to help bridge the gap left by Fiala’s departure. To keep up with the rest of the Central Division, they’re going to rely upon rookie Marco Rossi and the members of the “GREEF Line” (Jordan Greenway, Joel Erikson Ek, Marcus Foligno) to add more scoring to their already elite defensive forward line.

Related: 2022-23 Central Division Rankings: Forwards

This team’s defense is still basically the same unit as it was last year, led by Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, and Jonas Brodin. In the net, future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury officially has the starting job with the trading of Cam Talbot to the Ottawa Senators this offseason. Backing him up is Filip Gustavsson, one of the pieces they got in return from Ottawa for Talbot.

Players to Watch

St. Louis Blues: Jake Neighbours

Despite the many roster cuts that have already been made, young forward Jake Neighbours still remains on the camp roster. He’ll be starting on the Blues’ third line tonight with Brayden Schenn and Nathan Walker — a combination that could be in play for the season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his three games so far this preseason, he’s scored three points (two goals, one assist), with one of his points being a power-play goal. He’s in line to play on the Blues’ second power-play unit tonight.

The Blues are still in the process of figuring out their third and fourth lines and Neighbours is still very much in the mix for one of the wing spots on either. A good effort from him tonight will go a long way to ensure his name is called come opening night. Other forwards in contention are Klim Kostin, Logan Brown, Nathan Walker, Tyler Pitlick, and Matthew Highmore.

Minnesota Wild: Marco Rossi

Freshly 21 years old, former first-round pick, center Marco Rossi is looking to win a top-nine spot with the Wild. He’s done himself plenty of good so far this preseason, posting four points (one goal, three assists) in three games while winning 54.2 percent of his faceoffs. The hope in Minnesota is that Rossi will make the team out of camp and carve himself a role within the top nine to begin 2022-23. Then, once he gets established in the NHL, have him play up the lineup alongside the likes of Kaprizov and Matt Boldy.

Where You Can Catch the Game

Minnesota Wild @ St. Louis Blues – 7:00 PM CST

The Blues will take on the Wild tonight at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, MO, with a 7:00 PM puck drop. Fans can still purchase tickets to catch the action live. If you can’t make it to the game, tonight’s contest is available to watch on Bally Sports via cable, streaming on the Bally Sports app, or Bally Sports+. It will also be broadcast live over the air on 101 ESPN and the 101 ESPN app.


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