The Minnesota Wild have moved captain Jared Spurgeon to long-term injured reserve retroactive to the beginning of the season, per a team release. In a corresponding transaction, Minnesota recalled forward Jujhar Khaira from AHL Iowa. The Wild also announced that forward Frédérick Gaudreau is out with an upper-body injury and did not travel with the team on their upcoming road trip.
Spurgeon, 33, has missed all of Minnesota’s six games this season with an upper-body injury sustained late in training camp. Listed as week-to-week, the LTIR placement automatically rules Spurgeon out of the Wild’s next four games. The earliest possible date the defenseman can make his season debut is November 4 against the Rangers.
He’s been a cornerstone of the Wild blueline for more than a decade now, racking up 110 goals, 269 assists, 379 points and a +112 rating in 851 games in the State of Hockey, holding the franchise record for defenseman in all of those categories except assists. Spurgeon has largely avoided major injuries, too, never playing less than 60 games in a full campaign during which he was a full-time NHLer.
For Gaudreau, this is another bump in the road in what’s been a rocky start to 2023-24. Fresh off signing a five-year, $10.5MM extension last April, the 30-year-old forward is pointless through six games and has a -2 rating while averaging 14:53 per game. With Gaudreau out of the lineup, it’s likely that Brandon Duhaime will slide into the top nine for the Wild’s three-game road swing through Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey. The 26-year-old has become a staple on the Wild’s fourth line in recent years and has two goals through his first six games this season.
That gives Khaira the chance to make his Wild debut tomorrow, presumptively on a fourth-line centered by Connor Dewar and Vinni Lettieri on his opposite flank. Khaira, 29, joined the Wild on a two-way deal late in the summer and has started the season with four assists in four games in the minors after clearing waivers. He has 336 games and eight seasons of NHL experience to his name, putting up six goals and 14 points in 51 games with the Chicago Blackhawks last season.