Minnesota is set to get a key player back in their lineup as winger Nino Niederreiter is expected to return tonight after missing the last eight games with an ankle injury, notes Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press. The issue has been a lingering one for Niederreiter who sustained it early in the season and has been battling it since then. Despite that, he has still been one of the more productive scorers for the Wild with 13 goals in 31 games this season; his goals-per-game average ranks tops on the team. As the team didn’t place him on injured reserve, they don’t need to make a corresponding roster move to get him back on the active roster.
More injury notes from the Central:
- Although Blues winger Zachary Sanford is with the team for their road trip, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the youngster is still a long way away from returning. Sanford stated that he’s unsure if he will be able to get back into the lineup at some point this month but it appears that he will be ready to play down the stretch. The 23-year-old has yet to play this season after undergoing shoulder surgery in September and could make a push for a third line spot when he does return.
- Although he did not suffer a concussion after being hit on the side of the face with the puck on Thursday, Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been ruled out of Saturday’s contest against Minnesota, notes Mark Stepneski on the Stars’ team website. They are expected to recall a goalie to serve as the backup tomorrow. Meanwhile, center Martin Hanzal (muscle pull) and defenseman Marc Methot (knee) skated with the team as they continue to work their way back from their respective injuries but head coach Ken Hitchcock does not have a timeframe for when the veterans may get the green light to play.
- Jets goaltender Steve Mason skated on his own on Thursday for the first time since being diagnosed with his second concussion of the season, notes Postmedia’s Ken Wiebe. As a result, he is still a while away from returning which could very well take Michael Hutchinson out of the equation as a possible trade option as they may prefer to keep him around as insurance if Mason’s recovery goes slower than expected.