The Minnesota Wild are travelling to face the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and we will be seeing a modified lineup due to some returns from injury, some players battling injuries and their replacements.
Brandon Duhaime has not played a game since Nov. 23 due to an upper-body injury and he will be making his return against the Sabres. And while his return is going to cause head coach Dean Evason to really try and figure out who to bring out of a Wild lineup that has been playing excellent hockey, initially that will not be the case.
According to some folks, Mats Zuccarello is battling a minor injury and is a little too banged up to play this weekend, and might miss the upcoming game in St. Paul against the St. Louis Blues, but should be available for the trip back out east to face his old team, the New York Rangers.
Therefore, Evason doesn’t need to have a tough conversation with a player and for the next two games, he can do a simple swap on the lineup. In Zuccarello’s spot on the top line, Matt Boldy will be pairing up with Sam Steel and Kirill Kaprizov to hopefully piggy-back on his two-point performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning last game. Duhaime will simply take Boldy’s original spot.
Projected Wild lineup (temporary)
Kirill Kaprizov — Sam Steel — Matt Boldy
Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno
Brandon Duhaime — Frederick Gaudreau — Ryan Hartman
Mason Shaw — Connor Dewar — Ryan Reaves
Jake Middleton — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Jon Merrill — Calen Addison
This is probably just what is going to be the lineup until Zuccarello returns, but then Evason will have to make the tough decision (unless another injury arises) and sit a player that has been part of a lineup that is winning games, or at least establish a rotation in the bottom-six forward group.
We love kicking the can down the road!