Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom

Niklas Backstrom’s window of recovery: 2-4 weeks

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Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom tweaked his groin making a save early in last night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was already clear that it wouldn’t be an easy situation, but’s Brian Hedger tracked down a more specific estimate. The Wild revealed that the issue will likely sideline him for two to four weeks.

Backstrom’s loss looks to be backup Josh Harding’s gain. A two week window could give him 6-7 starts while a month-long reading could provide as many as 15 opportunities.

Naturally, that would assume that Harding would play each game, which is far from a guarantee. That being said, head coach Mike Yeo points out that there aren’t many back-to-back games* so new backup Matt Hackett might not see much time.

The Wild currently sit at 12th place in the West, trailing the eighth-ranked Dallas Stars by five points (71 to 66). It certainly doesn’t look like a promising situation for Minnesota, although Harding could profoundly improve his value on the free agent market if he can help them turn things around.

* – The Wild have to back-to-back sets, to be exact:

  • March 24 and 25 (at Buffalo, at Washington)
  • March 31 and April 1 (vs. Los Angeles, at Chicago)

Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

From the club:

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.

Jordan Weal to make NHL debut for Kings

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Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.

Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.

A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.

“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”

The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.

Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap