In the midst of the team’s first two-game slide since the calendar ticked over to 2022, the Minnesota Wild have made some changes to their roster before Sunday’s matchup against the Edmonton Oilers, recalling defenseman Calen Addison from the Iowa Wild. Addison joins forward Nick Bjugstad who was activated on Friday and returns to the active roster for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury in practice back on January 6th.
To make room for Addison and Bjugstad, the Wild assigned forward Victor Rask and defenseman Dakota Mermis to Iowa. According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, Rask’s appearance in Iowa will mark his first AHL assignment since 2013-14 with the Charlotte Checkers. Rask cleared waivers for the second time this season, allowing for his assignment to Iowa.
It’s clear that the Wild needed to change things up a bit after another uninspiring defensive effort against the offensive powerhouse Florida Panthers. Jordie Benn has been particularily bad, and missing Matt Dumba due to injury, the Wild have been struggling the last two games to find pairings that can gel together.
Perhaps adding Addison back into the mix can provide that spark. After getting his first taste of NHL action last season, Addison filled in admirably during Spurgeon’s extended absence in January, improving every game and enjoying his best game of his career with a goal and an assist in a win against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 21st. The next day, Spurgeon returned and Addison was sent back to Iowa, where he leads the team in points-per-game for defenseman and had eight points in six games before an upper-body injury knocked him out of the lineup.
No word yet on whether Addison will see the lineup against Edmonton or will just be an extra option for head coach Dean Evason. Bjugstad, on the other hand, will almost assuredly see action at some point during the Wild’s four-game Canadian road trip.
Bjugstad’s last appearance came in the Winter Classic, where the former Golden Gopher had an assist in the Wild’s 6-4 loss on the outdoor ice at Target Field. Bjugstad has four goals and one assist in the 28 games he’s played this season.
Rask has been a healthy scratch for the Wild’s last two losses, and Mermis, brought up due to Dumba’s injury, was a healthy scratch against Florida and hasn’t seen the ice for the Wild since since January 14th. He has zero points in the two games he’s played this season.