Prior to the flurry of activity at the trade deadline, the Minnesota Wild activated defenseman Jonas Brodin from injured reserve. He’s missed the team’s last 12 games with a broken foot and has yet to play a game under new head coach John Torchetti.
Brodin was a source of trade speculation this week, but stays puts as the Wild gear up for a push to the playoffs and a huge game Thursday against Colorado.
Adding at the Deadline
Getting Brodin back in the lineup may be the team’s best deadline move. Things ended poorly during Mike Yeo’s tenure as coach, with Brodin sitting on the sidelines. The team has been hit-and-miss under Torchetti, winning their first four and then losing three straight before Sunday’s win over Florida.
Throughout that run, defensive lapses have been a problem and getting their pairings stabilized could go a long way toward removing some of their streakiness.
The Wild stand two points back of eighth-place Colorado with a game in hand. Beating Colorado on Tuesday will catapult the Wild into the West’s final wild card slot. Not only is the win huge, but it takes a win from the Avs and leaves the Wild with a game in hand.
Brodin’s defensive capabilities have been sorely missed by a Wild team that prides itself on being stingy. Being able to tighten up the team’s defensive game and get the lineup somewhere near playoff form will be a great opportunity for a healthy roster (less Jason Zucker) to prove that they’ve left their terrible midseason swoon in the dust.
Making way for Brodin is the reassignment of Christian Folin to the AHL’s Iowa Wild.
Folin has seen a lot of NHL action lately with Jared Sprugeon and Marco Scandella missing time, in addition to Brodin. Folin has played well, but the team may be hedging their bets by making him the player to head back to Iowa. He will require waivers to be sent to the AHL after he plays another five NHL games.
The other two fringe defensemen on the roster are Nate Prosser and Mike Reilly. Management is likely less concerned about Prosser being a healthy scratch than Folin, whose game is still growing in addition to the waivers issue.
Reilly has been playing very well and is likely to continue seeing NHL ice for a while. He even found himself grabbing some time on the team’s top power play unit against Florida after Matt Dumba took an inadvisable penalty while the team was on the power play.
Folin playing fairly well and getting reassigned is more a testament to the coming of age of their defensive group than anything. Reilly is beginning to prove he belongs at the NHL level and there was never a thought of sending Dumba down this year.
The growth of young players and the return of Brodin puts their group in a good position heading into the stretch run.
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Dustin Nelson writes about news and the Minnesota Wild for The Hockey Writers.