Minnesota Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek played just one shift in his team’s first-round exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, sidelined by a lower-body injury sustained during the tail end of the regular season. Speaking during the team’s season-ending media availability today, Eriksson Ek told reporters, including The Athletic’s Joe Smith, that he sustained a broken fibula that “didn’t hold up” during his attempted return in Game 3.
The Wild center had surgery to repair the break and plans to be ready for training camp next season.
Eriksson Ek, the team’s strongest all-around center, was a critical absence in the Wild lineup as they failed to get much offense generated against the Dallas Stars. He notched a career-high 38 assists and 61 points in 2022-23.
Perennially in the Selke conversation, Eriksson Ek’s presence down the middle is a must-have for Minnesota to continue success with a cap-strapped roster next season. The Wild are expecting a breakout campaign from young Marco Rossi next year but need the leadership of Eriksson Ek to maintain playoff positioning.
Eriksson Ek joins pending restricted free agent Mason Shaw as Wild centers sidelined with long-term injuries over the offseason.