The Minnesota Wild have made two team announcements this morning: firstly, forward Vinni Lettieri has been recalled from the team’s AHL affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Additionally, another name is heading from Iowa to the Twin Cities: coach Patrick Dwyer.
The Iowa assistant has been elevated to new coach John Hynes’ staff, and he’ll take up the responsibilities left by former assistant Bob Woods, meaning he’ll help run the defense and penalty kill.
The recall of Lettieri was necessitated by the suspension of forward Ryan Hartman, who will miss the Wild’s next two games after slew-footing Alex DeBrincat. The grandson of longtime Minnesota North Stars GM Lou Nanne, Lettieri was a college hockey star in Minnesota who has settled into a role as a top-six AHLer and premier NHL call-up option.
This season, Lettieri has scored four points in six games for Iowa and two goals in 11 games with Minnesota. He last played in the NHL on November 18th, during the team’s trip to Sweden.
He could slot into Hartman’s vacated spot on the team’s third line, or Frédérick Gaudreau could see himself elevated from the fourth-line winger role to that 3C spot with Lettieri landing on the fourth line. Alternatively, coach Hynes could entirely re-construct the lineup for his first game in charge, which could introduce some more mystery as to where Lettieri would slot in.
As for Dwyer, the former NHLer began his coaching career as a player-coach with the Belfast Giants of the United Kingdom’s EIHL, serving in that role for the 2018-19 season. He then moved on to the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers, and then spent three seasons with the Chicago Wolves. He was part of the staff that won a Calder Cup with the Wolves in 2021-22, and began this season with Iowa before now receiving his first chance to coach behind an NHL bench.