The Minnesota Wild had a rough night on Thursday as they faced off against the Chicago Blackhawks, with forwards Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter injured in the 5-2 win.
By Friday, the team announced that Coyle will be out for six to eight weeks and Niederreiter is expected to miss at least three weeks.
Coyle was placed on the long-term injured reserve list after surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right fibula.
Niederreiter suffered a high ankle sprain.
To make matters worse, the Wild also lost Marcus Foligno on Thursday. He left the game with a facial fracture and is set for surgery on Sunday, with the timeline for his return set at about a week.
For those scoring at home, Minnesota is already without Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund. Parise is out indefinitely with a back injury and Granlund will miss the next two games with a groin injury.
The Wild dressed 11 forwards and seven defencemen on Thursday night and have subsequently called up forward Luke Kunin from the AHL. It is expected that the club could call up as many as three players ahead of their home opener on Saturday.
The story of the Wild thus far draws comparisons to the Dallas Stars of last season, who lost a multitude of players in the off-season and to injury and tumbled through the standings.
Minnesota saw the off-season departures of Erik Haula and Jason Pominville and are now seeing a raft of injuries, but they’re hoping for a better outcome than last year’s Stars. As of now, the five players currently out of the lineup were responsible for a combined 101 goals last season.
It’s tempting to look at this run of bad luck as a disaster before the season has even really begun, but the Wild are hoping their depth and top-tier coaching will right the ship. They’re currently 1-1-1 ahead of the home opener against Columbus and they did defeat the Blackhawks in spite of themselves.
But you can’t understate this scenario either and that’s kind of the point. No team, no matter how deep, can really withstand such a range of injuries without some sort of impact. How the Wild will rebound remains to be seen, but this is the sort of thing that could make or break a hockey club.