The red-hot Minnesota Wild made a pair of roster moves on Monday, losing one veteran presence while inching closer to the return of another.
Defenseman Keith Ballard has been placed on injured reserve, the club announced, while forward Mike Rupp has been activated and sent to AHL Iowa on a conditioning assignment. Rupp, 33, has yet to play for the Wild this year after recovering from an offseason knee injury and will suit up for Iowa in games Wednesday (vs. Chicago) and Friday (vs. San Antonio) before returning to the parent club.
The outlook for Ballard is not as clear.
The 31-year-old rearguard returned from a seven-game absence (concussion) on Nov. 1 and provided a spark almost immediately, racking up three points in his first two games back. He also logged a season-high 19:46 TOI in a 4-0 win over New Jersey on Nov. 3, only to suffer an upper-body injury not related to the concussion, missing games against Washington and Carolina last week.
All told, Ballard has now missed nine of Minnesota’s 18 games this year.
Even without Ballard in the lineup, the Wild have played extremely well as of late. They’ve suffered just one regulation loss in their last nine and have captured 15 of a possible 18 points.