Niederreiter to replace Cooke on Wild’s shutdown line

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Winger Nino Niederreiter is expected to replace the soon-to-be-suspended-and-probably-for-a-while Matt Cooke on the left side of the Minnesota Wild’s shutdown line. The plan is for the 21-year-old to skate alongside fellow youngsters Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine in Thursday’s Game 4 versus Colorado.

Wild coach Mike Yeo spoke today about the all-important line that helped shut out the Avalanche’s top guns on Monday.

“Adding a guy who can be strong on the puck, who’s responsible defensively and can play a strong two-way game and that was important to us,” Yeo said, per the StarTribune. “Obviously a good challenge for three young kids.”

On Niederreiter, who was traded to Minnesota from the Islanders in June, Yeo added: “What I really appreciate about him is we’ve been able to insert him into different roles. We’ve put him in a scoring role, we’ve put him in a checking role and he’s always sort of adapted. To me, that’s the sign of a good player.”

Related: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question