Brodin is training and targeting a return to the roster this weekend


ST. PAUL — Late in the Wild’s 3-2 win at Boston earlier this month, the defenseman Jonas Brodin rolled up to take a slap shot and knew something was wrong.

He had blocked a shot with his left hand earlier in the period, but as the pain subsided fairly quickly, he assumed everything was fine.

But the pain disappeared quickly because he had broken a bone in his hand, not because the injury was just a stinger like he had hoped.

“I thought it was just a bone bruise, it wasn’t too serious,” Brodin said. “It went numb pretty quickly but in the end I took a slap shot… and thought something was wrong here.”

A series of X-rays concluded that a broken bone in his hand was indeed the diagnosis, and from there it was simply a matter of how long the star defender would miss.

In the end, not as long as initially feared. The belief is that Brodin could play Friday night when the Wild return to Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers. If so, that would mean a six-game absence for Brodin and a stint of nearly three weeks, which could mean the Wild dodged a major bullet.

The Wild managed to go 5-0-1 in that span, with their only loss coming at Colorado in a shootout. With Brodin out, the Wild saw their captain return from injury while getting contributions from guys like Jon Merrill, Jordie Benn and Calen Addison to help fill the considerable void.

Video: Jonas Brodin Wednesday practice update

“It’s great, everyone goes,” Brodin said. “It’s a good thing when you’re injured I think watching, Addy played really well when he was here and the same with Benn and all the guys have been really good. It’s fun to watch and it’s good to have, it’s going to be a race in the year and I think it’s going to be good to have a good depth.”

With Brodin and Spurgeon both back, and with Matt Dumba and Alex Goligoski both healthy and performing, the Wild could have their full top 4 available for the first time in over a month.

“It would be a big bonus if we could get him back this weekend,” Wild coach Dean Evason said.

Evason said he was not concerned about Brodin’s physical condition, as he was skating alone with Nick Bjugstad and skating coach Andy Ness.

Wednesday marked his first official practice back on the ice, but there will be another Thursday before the team’s flight to the Big Apple.

“I think I felt pretty good to be with the guys again,” Brodin said. “I think two practices will be good. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes and decide afterwards.”

Merrill and Sturm enter protocol

But as has been the case for most of the past two months, just when the Wild seem poised to regain their full-strength blue line, another piece breaks down. On Wednesday, it was Merrill who fell victim to the COVID-19 protocol list.

Nico Sturm was also added to the roster and did not practice at TRIA Rink. It seems unlikely that they will take part in the Wild’s trip to New York this weekend.

Video: Dean Evason update on Wednesday practice

Merrill is in the middle of the best season of his NHL career, with three goals and 10 assists. The 13 points are just two shy of his career high. He’s also a plus-14 and was able to complete the top-to-bottom lineup.

Merrill and Sturm, who is coming off a three-point night in a win over Montreal on Monday, are two of five players who have skated and played in all 38 games for Minnesota this season.

“It’s so random,” Evason said. “It’s not just the hockey world, it’s not just us, it’s the world in general. How’s it going? Nobody knows. So we’ll deal with it.”

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