Oh thank goodness, Marc-Andre Fleury is back.
Announced by the team on Thursday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild have activated Fleury from Injured Reserve, meaning that he is most likely all the way back and has recovered from his injury.
With the timing of this move we can only assume that Fleury is good to go for Friday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. If he’s not 100 percent, and the team just wants him to at least be back on the roster, then he will at least serve in the backup role.
In a corresponding move, the Wild have reassigned goaltender Zane McIntyre back down to the AHL Wild, after not even getting in a game.
And the reason why McIntyre didn’t have to play any minutes has been the resurgence and stability of young netminder Filip Gustavsson. In the three games he has had to play since Fleury went down with an injury, the 24-year-old goalie has earned a 2-1-0 record, a .914 save percentage, and a 2.34 goals against average. Not too bad for a guy that had to step in and be depended on to replace the services of a future Hall-of-Famer.
Fleury’s return could not come at a better time, though. The Wild look like their old selves again — forechecking hard, finishing chances created by Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy, depth players like Marcus Foligno getting in on the scoring, and all those other things that we loved about last season. After wins over the Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets, this team looks to be ready to get back to that familiar style and be annoying to play against for absolutely anyone in the league.
There are still problems of course, but at least the Wild’s uncertainty and instability in between the goal posts are now fixed once again.