The Minnesota Wild were cleared a couple days ago to return to team activities and look ready to resume their season on Tuesday against Los Angeles. Now the team announced that it has gotten back four of its players off the COVID protocol list, including forwards Nick Bjugstad, Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Johansson as well as defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
All four players were on the list since Feb. 3. The team had 13 players on the list as of two days ago, so the team needed some of them back soon if they want to have a competitive team. The Wild last played on Feb. 2, falling to Colorado in a 2-1 loss.
Eriksson Ek finally looks to have turned a corner in his fourth full season with the Wild. He posted career highs a year go with eight goals and 29 points, but it looks like he’s figured things out with five goals and nine points in nine games so far this year. Bjugstad, acquired for a conditional seventh-round pick at a bargain rate from Pittsburgh during the offseason, has found a full-time role with the team, playing in 11 games and scoring two goals and three points in a bottom-six role. Johansson, also acquired this offseason in a swap with Buffalo for Eric Staal, has two goals and three points in nine games.
The biggest return will be the team’s captain in Spurgeon. who is averaging 22:13 of ATOI this season and will be key heading up the team’s blueline. Of course, Spurgeon and Johansson are still dealing with upper-body injuries that could keep them out of the lineup for a few days still, according to Sarah McLellan of the Star Tribune.