The Minnesota Wild are just over a week away from starting their first-round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, and head coach Dean Evason just dealt us a dubious hand prior to Friday’s game.
Two of the players that the Wild rely on to bring physicality with a touch of offensive skill are still out of the lineup and while the timeline of their injuries were not specified earlier, it appears that we all underestimated just how long they would be out for.
Jordan Greenway, according to Evason, is ahead of teammate Matt Dumba in his road to recovery, but that might not mean a whole lot. The key blueliner has not recovered enough to get any capable shot off, and the head coach said that Dumba might even be doubtful to play in Game 1 next month. That is a significant extension to the assumed timeline of his injury and now means that the Wild might not have the most ideal lineup heading into an already-tough-if-healthy matchup against the Blues. Dumba has not played a game since April 5, when he initially injured his shoulder mid-game.
Turns out, shoulders are important for shooting hockey pucks.
Dumba’s quasi replacement, Jordie Benn, has been playing some decent hockey lately (three assists in six games, all on-ice differentials over 50 percent) but playoff hockey is just a different beast and an environment where your depth players cannot be hidden away or sheltered; they will get exposed no matter what and the slow-footed Benn might be a target for some of the speedy Blues wingers.
Minnesota does have Calen Addison available, but throwing him straight into the fire of the post-season when the team isn’t sure enough he can play in the regular season, might not be the best bet to make.
In other news, Tyson Jost will make his return from injury on Friday against the Seattle Kraken, as the Wild slowly get over of this recent injury hump. And Marcus Foligno remains out when the team travels to play the Nashville Predators on Sunday.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, a playoff spot clinched, and just home-ice advantage to play for, they might as well be patient with some of these more delicate injuries. Still sucks and still leaves us wondering if this team can be at its full health at the most important time of the year.
Inspired by Ryan Hartman’s generosity, feel free to donate to Children’s Minnesota as they continue their effort and support, especially during this time as they continue their effort to support trans kids through their Gender Health Program. Feel free to donate here.