Sorry to ruin everyone's Crosbyday with Wild talk, but Russo reported today that Marco Scandella and Greg Zanon both practiced with the team today. It sounds like Scandella is a lock for Wednesday against the Predators, while Zanon could return, but no word on the likelihood of that. Eventually, Zanon will return as well, and the nearly forgotten Mike Lundin.
While having too many defensemen is a great problem to have, it still presents a problem. The depth of the organization on the blue line has been shown to be true, and now that depth must be reshuffled to make everyone fit back on the roster. Players capable of contributing to the NHL team will be in Houston, and players that have been a big part of the run to the top will be benched.
The questions are - who stays and who goes? Who sits and who plays? What will the lines be?
After the jump, our very quick take on the situation.
Already, one player who contributed, Kris Fredheim has been returned to Houston, but now he at least has the reward of his shiny new NHL contract. That move was a no brainer. He was the last piece to be brought up, and the least likely piece to stick around. The rest of the moves will be much more complicated, with waivers and veteran status at play.
With the return of Marco Scandella, another player will need to go to Houston. The most likely (almost certain) player to go back to Houston will be Nate Prosser. The kid has proven he belongs, and makes that first pass out of the zone, which is something the Wild desperately need right now. However, as Russo pointed out on Twitter, Prosser doesn't have to clear waivers, so hasta la vista.
After that, it gets much, much more complicated. Say Greg Zanon is ready to go on Wednesday. Marek Zidlicky could go on IR to make room, but who comes out of the lineup? Maybe Clayton Stoner to give his finger time to heal properly? Stoner has played well, even injured, but he certainly can't be playing 100%. With the way the Wild are playing, does Zanon justify potentially messing up the on ice chemistry? Does he still fit with what the Wild are trying to do? Does Zanon have the ability to jump into the system and keep up? If not, does Zanon sit?
Dangerous questions among Wild fans, I know, but they need to be asked, and they need to be answered.
Finally, Mike Lundin is
in the middle of done with his conditioning stint. He is back in St. Paul and more decisions need to be made. At some point, Mike Yeo has to decide if he is ready to sub out players like Justin Falk, who has been playing lights out hockey, and does not deserve in any way, shape, or form to be pulled from the lineup.
All of this on top of Zidlicky hopefully being able to make a return at some point.
You're the GM and the coach, Wilderness. You've got a great problem, but not an easy one to solve. Who goes where, and who plays? What are your lines?