The Wild are reporting on their Twitter account that both Greg Zanon and Clayton Stoner are out vs the Red Wings tomorrow. Zanon has a nagging groin injury, and Stoner took a puck off the hand in last night's game against the Ducks. We have nothing specific, nor a time table for the return of either one. Both are troublesome in their own way, with Zanon being a near ironman, and the Stoner injury compounding the problem with two defensive d-men out of the lineup.
Mike Lundin is injured, but has been working off the ice to rehab. He has not practiced in weeks.
With these two regulars out of the lineup, that leaves Jared Spurgeon, Marek Zidlicky, Nick Schultz, Marco Scandella, and Justin Falk healthy and on the roster. Using my Minnesota math, that's only five guys on the blue line. The Wild's tweet said "possible call up," so unless Lundin is going to be thrown into the lineup having not practiced with the team, and not even skating, there will most certainly be a call up.
But who? After the jump.
Well, we won't know until we are told, but the field should be fairly limited. The players Ms. Conduct have given love to in her two posts are all forwards. Does that mean the defense isn't doing its job? Not by any means, or the team would not be doing as well as they are. However, with noone standing out, we are left to play a bit of a guessing game. The two missing d-men are defensive, stay at home types. Defensive d-men don't exactly scream "Hey look at me!" when it comes to call ups.
The fact that the Wild need a rock eliminates Tyler Cuma from the list of possible replacements. Cuma isn't exactly lighting it up in Houston anyway. I would be hard pressed to think Kyle Medvec is going to get the call, but there has been some praise out of Houston for him, and stranger things have happened. Chay Genoway might get the call if the injuried party was Jared Spurgeon, but the Wild aren't likely to roll with two tiny d-men.
Jeff Penner is a bit of an unknown to most Wild fans, but he was who the Wild and Aeros traded Anton Khudobin for. He is smallish, but sound, and is a "puck moving" defenseman according to Sarah Connors. I'm not counting him out, but he isn't exactly the right it right now.
This leaves Nate Prosser, Drew Bagnall, and Jordan Hendry. Each has positives and negatives, and each could fill the role needed, but it is not clear if they would do it well enough to be in the NHL.
Hendry has a clear lead, with his 129 NHL games, and he is a quiet, stay at home type. He would be the favorite to step up, but I will admit, I haven't heard much about him this season, so it is unclear if he is outplaying anyone or not. Again, the type of d-man the Wild need right now is the guy who isn't making headlines, and is simply doing his job. Hendry fits that description.
Drew Bagnall performed admirably in his stint last season, and has had two very solid camps with the Wild. He is tough, he has size, and is very Stoner-esque. He also has the confidence of Mike Yeo, which could be an advantage for him right now.
Prosser is a favorite around here, mostly because he is a good Minnesota boy, and because it is fun to talk about how much he looks like Stifler. However, his inexperience may be his biggest knock right now. With the condition of the blue line, the Wild need confidence that they have someone who isn't going to add to the problem. Is that man Nate Prosser? In a perfect world, yes. In the current situation, unless he is vastly outplaying Bagnall and Hendry, I have some doubts.
My bet is that Jordan Hendry gets the call over Drew Bagnall. The experience is going to be a big factor in that decision, as the Wild need someone who can step in and just "get it." That's not a knock on Bagnall as much as it is a nod to the current situation here in St. Paul. Hendry is the safest bet, and that's the smart move to make.
The Wild mention the call up is "possible." Unless Lundin is going right in, there will be a call up. Our bet here is Handry over Bagnall. Who you got Wilderness?
UPDATE (1:36 PM): As mentioned below by ThatGuy22, Hendry is on an AHL PTO contract. The likelihood of him being inked and called up in a day are pretty small. It could certainly happen, but it is unlikely. With this reminder, we are forced to concede that Drew Bagnall is the now likely call up. This is why we keep you folks around.