Rookie defenseman Carson Soucy left Friday’s game early in the third period with an upper-body injury. Luke Kunin also left the contest after suffering an upper-body injury in the first period. According to a report from Michael Russo of The Athletic, Soucy could be out of the lineup for over a month. Kunin, meanwhile, could be out of action for two weeks.
Kunin’s timetable is 10 days-two weeks actually— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) February 23, 2020
This is a pretty suboptimal time for the Wild to lose two of their better young players. The Wild, amazingly, are just four points out of a playoff spot with three games in hand on a Winnipeg Jets team that occupies the second wild card spot in the West. They have five games in hand on the Arizona Coyotes.
Losing Soucy for a month (at least) is particularly concerning. Soucy has been a pleasant surprise for the Wild as he, along with New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox, leads all rookies with a plus-16 rating on the season. Through 55 games, the 25-year-old has collected seven goals and as many assists while earning a significant amount of minutes on the penalty kill.
As for Kunin, he has quietly managed to take a sizable step forward in his first full season with the Wild. The former Wisconsin Badger has set new career highs in goals (13), assists (14) and points (27) and is establishing himself as one of Minnesota’s best penalty killers.
It’s unclear when Gerald Mayhew or Louie Belpedio will make their next appearance in the Wild lineup, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the former get a shot relatively soon. Mayhew has been exceptional for the Iowa Wild this season as he currently leads the entire AHL in goals (39) and points (61). He played in seven NHL games for the Wild earlier in the season, scoring two goals with a plus-2 rating.