Jonas Brodin met with a hand specialist today to determine the severity and treatment options for a broken finger the defenseman suffered last night, reports Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. Wild GM Chuck Fletcher is expecting the blue liner to be out at least “a few weeks” but his absence could be longer depending on whether he’ll need surgery to repair the break. According to Russo, the worst case scenario could keep Brodin sidelined for up to six weeks and given the compressed nature of the NHL schedule this season, it means he could miss as many as 18 games.
Brodin is an important cog on the team’s blue line, averaging the third-most ice time among the team’s defense corps while seeing action in all situations. In 43 games this season, the 23-year-old Swede has three goals and 16 points. That represents a significant uptick from his 2015-16 performance when Brodin registered just seven points in 68 games.
Russo relays that Wild bench boss Bruce Boudreau will reach out to the head coach of the club’s AHL affiliate in Iowa, Derek Lalonde, for input on whom to call up in Brodin’s absence. He speculates the two most likely candidates are Mike Reilly and Gustav Olofsson and would hinge on whether the team would prefer a more offensive-minded option (Reilly) who could fill in on the man-advantage or one who is better in the defensive zone (Gustafsson).
At least in the short term, it appears the team will dress Nate Prosser, though as Russo writes, the veteran coach has not yet decided which side he will play on. Prosser is a right-handed shot and should Boudreau elect to slot the 30-year-old on his natural side, it would suggest one of Mathew Dumba or Christian Folin could be scratched with the call-up from Iowa drawing into the lineup. The alternative would be using Prosser on his off-side with the call-up serving as the extra blue liner.
While losing a proven, top-four defenseman like Brodin is never ideal, the Wild are at least one of the few teams in the league with enough quality blue line depth to survive his absence. In fact, it’s this depth that has led some to wonder whether the team would attempt to parlay one of their defenders into additional scoring help, though Brodin’s injury likely reduces the odds of that possibility.
If it’s working why fix it? Reilly should be the call up and Prosser used on his off hand side. No need to make any silly trades unless it’s too good to be true.