After sending him down at the beginning of the All-Star break, the Wild recalled forward Jake Lucchini from AHL Iowa on Monday, per The Athletic’s Michael Russo. The move gives them a 12th healthy forward for Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks. Pat Maroon, Connor Dewar and Vinni Lettieri remain on injured reserve and are not expected to be available.
Lucchini, 28, has yet to record a point in eight games with the Wild, averaging 8:21 per contest and posting a -1 rating. It’s been a much better showing in the minors for the veteran depth forward, who ranks among Iowa’s best point-per-game producers with 11 goals and 23 points in 30 appearances.
He’s dangerously close to losing his temporary waiver exemption after passing through unclaimed during training camp. If he plays in two more contests, a likely scenario given the Wild’s injury situation, he’ll need waivers once again to head to Iowa.
Notably, the Wild did not recall top goaltending prospect Jesper Wallstedt today. He’d been on the active roster leading into the All-Star break with Marc-André Fleury on the shelf with an upper-body injury, meaning the veteran is likely ready to dress against his former team later this week. Wallstedt allowed seven goals on 34 shots in his lone NHL appearance this season.
Elsewhere from the Central Division:
- Sticking with Minnesota, top shutdown blue-liner Jonas Brodin was absent from today’s practice with an illness, according to Russo. The 30-year-old had three assists in his last four games heading into the All-Star break, and his status for Wednesday is unknown. The 12-year veteran missed 17 games earlier this season with an upper-body injury, putting immense pressure on rookie Brock Faber to shoulder all-situations responsibilities in his first NHL campaign. Faber’s done so well, leading Wild defenders in points (29) and average ice time (24:51). Brodin has one goal through his 32 showings this year and is second behind Faber in ice time, averaging 23:42 per game.
- Blackhawks veteran Tyler Johnson is expected to return to the lineup against the Wild on Wednesday, head coach Luke Richardson said (via NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis). The 33-year-old missed all of Chicago’s 14 games in January with a foot fracture sustained on New Year’s Eve against the Stars. His pending IR activation brings Chicago’s injured forwards count to four, and he’s expected to resume a top-six role in his return in the continued absence of rookie Connor Bedard due to a broken jaw. The pending UFA has nine goals, 13 points, and a -15 rating in 35 contests.