Justin Fontaine‘s tough season will take a difficult turn on Monday night — one that leads directly to the press box.
Per the Star-Tribune, Fontaine will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season, after a stretch in which he’s failed to score a goal in nine straight contests.
“I want to see him take a step in his career because we have a lot of confidence what he can do and what he can be as a player,” head coach Mike Yeo explained. “He’s shown signs of it from game to game. In certain games, it’s just a matter of making sure the consistency is there night after night, shift and shift.
“That’s what he has to discover in his game.”
In Fontaine’s defense, his health has been problematic.
The 28-year-old was on the receiving end of a David Clarkson knee during the preseason, which forced him to miss the first two games of the year.
Then, in late October, Fontaine was ruled out 4-6 weeks with a sprained left MCL.
Prior to that second knee injury, Fontaine had been a pretty decent contributor with a goal and four points in eight games, averaging over 11 minutes per night.
That production came on the heels of a very solid ’14-15 campaign, in which he scored a career-high 31 points.
On the season, Fontaine has a respectable eight points in 21 contests, but it’s clear his offensive abilities don’t compensate for what Wild head coach Mike Yeo see as an incomplete overall game.