The Minnesota Wild suddenly find themselves in a late season slump that has seen them drop six of their last eight games. To make matters worse, according to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Wild have been shutout in three of their last four games and two straight on home ice. Last night they had to watch star defenseman Ryan Suter fall to injury which further brings cause for concern.
The Wild didn’t disclose what type of injury Suter sustained and why would they with the playoffs right around the corner. This is the time of year every injury is either a upper-body injury or a lower-body one. In Suter’s case he has the third option, the undisclosed injury. Not exactly a lot to go on but for the Wild they are staring down the idea of being without their “most important” player as Russo puts it.
Russo goes on to speculate that the injury may be a pulled muscle based on what he saw while watching the game last night. Again, not much to go on until the Wild update us on how long Suter will be out.
After the injury occurred Russo explained how the Wild are now in a pinch when it comes to their blue line. Along with their sudden dry spell that has the Wild with the inability to score goals, the defense has become a point of concern as the Wild try and lock up a playoff spot for the first time in five years.
Russo points out that with Suter out of the lineup the onus falls upon players like Tom Gilbert and Justin Falk who have been less than stellar lately, to put it mildly. There is talk of promoting Marc Scandella from the AHL affiliate Houston Aeros to join the likes of Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and the aforementioned Gilbert and Falk.
Regardless of what they do, the Wild are thin on the blue line without Suter which begs the question, did GM Chuck Fletcher miss out on the opportunity to address this hole at the trade deadline?
He acquired forward Jason Pominville which was a nice addition but even he can’t solve the Wild’s goal scoring woes. Clearly the Wild need help on the blue line and may have put too much stock in Suter staying healthy. It’s a gamble to say the least and now the Wild could be faced with the challenge of having an offensive drought and a defensive nightmare.
Niklas Backstrom, I hope you’re ready to carry this club into the playoffs. Because if Ryan Suter misses any amount of playing time, it sounds like the load will be placed squarely on your shoulders to get this team into the postseason.