Early in the first period of Tuesday night’s contest in Sunrise, Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon blocked an Aleksander Barkov shot with his hand during a Florida power play.
Here's another look at the injury to Spurgeon. pic.twitter.com/e51tX4vsgv— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) December 4, 2019
After a Barkov goal just seconds later, Spurgeon left the ice and didn’t take another shift for the rest of the night.
Now we know why.
According to a report from Michael Russo of The Athletic, Spurgeon, who just signed a seven-year contract extension worth $53.025 million in September, suffered a broken right hand as a result of the blocked Barkov shot.
While Boudreau provided no update on Koivu or Spurgeon after the game, sources tell The Athletic that Spurgeon broke his right hand when he blocked Sasha Barkov’s first-period shot. Spurgeon couldn’t grasp his stick with his right hand during the rest of the shift, one that ended with Barkov giving Florida a 1-0 lead.
Spurgeon was wearing a splint after the game and sources say it’s the type of break that could take 4-6 weeks before he’s able to grip his stick again. Spurgeon, however, will be examined further Wednesday to see the extent of the break and the best course of treatment, sources say.
This news is certainly troubling, to say the least. Spurgeon is perhaps the most important player on Minnesota’s roster, and having him out of the lineup for 4-6 weeks, if not longer, would be catastrophic for a Wild team that’s finally picking up steam after a rough start to the season.
The 30-year-old blueliner has collected three goals and 13 assists through 28 games this season. He and Ryan Suter both lead all Wild defensemen with 16 points on the year.
With Spurgeon potentially out of action for a while, Carson Soucy will likely continue to play significant minutes as Nick Seeler draws into the lineup. Seeler has only appeared in four games this season, but played in 71 contests for Minnesota last season, collecting two goals and seven points in those appearances. Veteran defenseman Greg Pateryn is also likely to return to the Wild soon after undergoing bilateral core muscle repair surgery just before the start of the season. Pateryn has been assigned to the AHL for a conditioning stint, but it shouldn’t be long before he returns to Minnesota.
Russo also mentions Mikko Koivu in his report. Koivu, 36, took one shift in the third period and did not take the ice again for the remainder of the game. It’s unknown when Koivu was injured (if at all) against the Panthers.
The Wild have already dealt with their fair share of injuries to start the 2019-20 campaign. Mats Zuccarello, Marcus Foligno and Joel Eriksson Ek have all missed a good chunk of time this season, and goalie Devan Dubnyk is also out of commission as he tends to a family matter (though Alex Stalock has performed quite well in Dubnyk’s relief).
Thanks to their recent resurgence, the Wild are just a couple points out of a playoff spot. But it appears they will need to fight off some adversity as they look to keep their 10-game point streak alive.
The Wild play a road game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
UPDATE: It appears Spurgeon won’t be out as long as initially feared. The Wild announced Wednesday that he is only expected to miss about two weeks with an upper-body injury. Mikko Koivu is also day-to-day as he nurses a lower-body injury.