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Preview: Wild set to host Blue Jackets in first game after the trade deadline

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How will the Wild perform following a quiet day at the deadline?

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2020 NHL trade deadline has passed, and the Minnesota Wild remain virtually unchanged. Zach Parise is still here. Matt Dumba is still here. Jonas Brodin is still here. The whole gang is still here.

In fact, there’s even a new guy joining the Wild for their tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and that man is Gerald Mayhew.

Mayhew, 27, has been dominant in the American Hockey League this season. In 48 games with the Iowa Wild, Mayhew leads the entire AHL in goals (39) and points (61). The Wyandotte, Michigan native appeared in seven games for the Wild earlier in the season. In those appearances, he netted a pair of goals and had a plus-2 rating while playing a bottom-six role. Tuesday night, though, he is expected to play on the top line with Eric Staal and Kevin Fiala.

Not a bad promotion, eh?

That’s not the only notable lineup change to keep an eye on. Alex Galchenyuk, after playing on the wing in each of his first six games with the Wild, will center Marcus Foligno and Mats Zuccarello on the third line. Galchenyuk has been yanked back and forth between center and wing throughout his career, so it will be interesting to see if this audition earns him more time in the dot.

As for the Blue Jackets, they are less than 24 hours removed from a 4-3 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators. One would imagine that the Wild will benefit from Columbus’ quick turnaround, but you never can tell with this team, can you?

Much like the Wild, the Blue Jackets are in the midst of a tight race in the Eastern Conference for the second wild card spot. Their win over the Senators on Monday gives them a two-point cushion over the Carolina Hurricanes, but Carolina has three games in hand and just made a number of big trades at the deadline in order to make a deep run. Columbus will need to be nearly flawless in the homestretch, so don’t expect Tuesday night’s contest to be an easy one for the Wild.

Burning Questions

1. Will Parise play with a chip on his shoulder after nearly being traded?

The trade deadline can sometimes bring the best out of players. For a “heart and soul” guy like Parise, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be at least a little fired up after he was almost shipped to the New York Islanders on Monday. He hasn’t found the back of the net in five straight games, but don’t be shocked if his goal drought ends against Columbus.

2. How will Mayhew perform in his first game with actual NHL linemates?

The Wild are giving Mayhew an opportunity to play with actual linemates tonight, so it would be really cool to see him stand out. Perhaps a big performance could even earn him an extended stay with the big club? The veteran AHLer has a lot to play for against the Jackets.

3. Will Galchenyuk look comfortable at center?

Galchenyuk is at a crossroads in his career. Is he a center? A winger? Is he even cut out for a full-time role in the NHL? He’s shown some nice flashes in his last few games with the Wild, but a big performance at center Tuesday night could give him a massive boost in confidence.