The Minnesota Wild expect to have center Mikael Granlund in the lineup Tuesday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.
The 22-year-old has missed the last 13 games after undergoing surgery on his fractured left wrist suffered during a game Dec. 27 against the Winnipeg Jets.
“We were hopeful before the (All-Star) break. I’m very confident now after the break that he’s ready,” said coach Mike Yeo following Monday’s practice. “He had a great practice, it was full contact and a lot of battle drills. He looks strong.”
Granlund, who was Minnesota’s first line center prior to the injury, has four goals and 15 points in 32 games this season.
“I feel the speed has been a little bit noticeable,” said Yeo of what Granlund adds to the lineup. “He’s just another guy that skates, pursues and tracks pucks. That’ll be something that I know he adds, but depth at the center position and depth at scoring.
“Mikko (Koivu) has certainly been putting up some points lately, but you need more than one guy and that’s not anything against (Kyle Brodziak) or Charlie (Coyle) or Erik (Haula). That’s not really their role, their role is a little bit more of a checking role and to get a scoring, top-two center back is obviously a huge addition for us.”
Granlund admits it could take a few games to get back in to the flow of things.
“Now its been four weeks and I feel pretty good out there,” he said Monday. “Obviously if you haven’t played a game for four weeks it might take a few games, but we’ll see how it goes. Conditioning-wise I feel alright, but a game is always a little different and all the contact and stuff, you need to battle in the corners so we’ll see how it goes.”
Granlund remains on injured reserve, but could be activated Tuesday without the Wild needing to make another roster move. Minnesota currently has 22 players on its active roster.