NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Los Angeles Kings at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The Wild and Kings didn’t play on Sunday, but that didn’t stop them from stealing the show, as both teams made major trades.
The Kings acquired goalie Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a modest package. The timing of the deal appeared to be a little odd because starter Jonathan Quick made his long-awaited return from injury on Saturday afternoon.
But during a conference call on Sunday, Kings GM Dean Lombardi admitted that there are a “number of concerns” regarding Quick’s ability to handle a heavy workload.
“You’re never sure how well a guy who’s been out this long — is he going to have his ‘A’ game, so to speak, or not? These type of injuries, which are fairly serious, the history of comebacks can go either way,” Lombardi said of Quick.
Los Angeles could still use another guy to put the puck in the net, but they’ll have to hope that the acquisition of Bishop will give them a shot in the arm (they could sure use one).
If the playoffs started today, the Kings wouldn’t be participating in them. They currently sit three points back of the St. Louis Blues for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Both teams have played the same number of games, but the Blues also have one more regulation/overtime win.
On a positive note, the schedule sets up nicely for Los Angeles. They’ll play back-to-back road games in Minnesota tonight and in Calgary tomorrow, but they’ll follow that up with seven straight home games from Mar. 2-16.
Minutes after the Kings made the first splash of the day, the Wild felt the need to increase their depth by adding forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White from Arizona.
Minnesota paid a hefty price of three draft picks, including a first rounder in 2017 to get their hands on Hanzal and White, but the top team in the West now boasts a one-two-three punch of Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu and Hanzal down the middle.
According to GM Chuck Fletcher, both players will suit up in tonight’s game.
After dropping a pair of home games to Chicago this month, the Wild have a one-point lead over the Blackhawks for the Central Division lead, but Minnesota has three games in hand.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Wild come out of the gate tonight, as this will be their first game back from their bye week.