Found this little nugget in the game recap from Tuesday’s Ducks-Wild game, which Anaheim won 2-1:
Minnesota has used an NHL-high 39 players this season, one away from the team record of 40 set last season.
Look, we’ve piled on the Wild quite a bit here at PHT, mostly for good reason. They were first overall in the league as recently as Dec. 15, but now find themselves 21st overall (12th in the Western Conference, five points out of a playoff spot.)
But 39 players? By Feb. 15? That’s pretty harsh.
Even harsher is the quality of players Minnesota’s gone through. They include:
Jon DiSalvatore: A 30-year-old winger that last played in the NHL in 2006.
Jeff Taffe: Best known for marrying Wayne Gretzky’s niece, Taffe, 30, has played for six different organizations since the lockout.
Jed Ortmeyer: 33 years old, nearly had his career ended in 2006 after being diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism.
There’s also a laundry list of younger players you’ve never heard of, like Chad Rau, Jarod Palmer, Kris Fredheim and David McIntyre.
In closing, I vow to take it easy on the Wild from here on in and actually starting cheering for them to set a franchise record. Why stop at 40? We can do 50, Minnesota. Yes we can.
According to ESPN 1500 Minnesota, Wild captain Mikko Koivu will return to the lineup for tonight’s contest against Northwest Division rival Vancouver.
Koivu has missed Minnesota’s last eight games — and the 2012 All-Star Game in Ottawa — after injuring his left shoulder on Jan. 14. The Wild have gone 3-4-1 without him in the lineup, scoring one goal or fewer in five of the eight games.
It’s expected that head coach Mike Yeo will load up his first line, putting Koivu between Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi. Heatley leads all Wild scorers with 17 goals this year while Setoguchi has chipped in with 10, despite missing 13 games with a knee injury.
[Setoguchi has struggled since returning from the injury and has just two goals in 11 games — things got so bad that Yeo demoted him to the third line in a 3-1 loss to Columbus on Tuesday. The hope is that Koivu’s presence can salvage what’s been a disappointing year thus far.]
“We have to make sure with Mikko coming back — he’s such an important part of the team — that we surround him the right way,” Yeo told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “Putting him with Seto and Heater gives us a chance to get that line going.”
To make room for Koivu, Minnesota placed forward Jed Ortmeyer on waivers.
From Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune:
For those unfamiliar with Peters (read: Everybody not in his extended family), here’s the skinny:
— 29 years old.
— 62 games of NHL experience.
— 90 games of ECHL experience.
— 472 games of AHL experience.
— Has played for the Portland Pirates, Utah Grizzles, Idaho Steelheads, Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Quad City Flames, Texas Stars and Houston Aeros.
— Now centering Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi on the Wild’s top line.
Peters is one of four current Wild forwards that began the year in AHL Houston (the others are Casey Wellman, David McIntyre and Carson McMillan), which tells you how badly injuries have ravaged the team. Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse and Jarod Palmer are all on injured reserve.
Peters and Co. aren’t the only temporary, minor-league stopgaps the Wild have used this year. Unforgettable names like Jeff Taffe, Cody Almond, Jed Ortmeyer, Kris Fredheim and Jon DiSalvatore have all played with the big club this season, though none of them ever got to play first-line center.