Monday, April 15 2024

The Minnesota Wild, beset by injuries all season, got their worst injury news yet on Thursday when the team announced captain Jared Spurgeon will miss the rest of the season with a pair of season-ending surgeries.

One of the NHL’s best defensemen, Spurgeon played only 16 games this season. He is scheduled to have surgery on his left hip on Feb. 6, and will have back surgery approximately four weeks later, the team announced before Thursday night’s game at Tampa Bay.

He is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp in September, the team said, but they dearly miss him now. The Wild lost for the ninth time in 11 games on Thursday, surrendering three power play goals in a 7-3 loss to the Lightning at Amalie Arena.

Jake Middleton had a goal and two assists for Minnesota, and Marco Rossi added a goal and assist, but the Lightning — who entered the game with the NHL’s best power play — was 3 for 3 on the man advantage.

Six different players scored goals for Tampa Bay, including Steven Stamkos, who netted his 533rd career power play goal when his wide shot caromed off defenseman Brock Faber for a 5-3 just more than a minute into the third period.

In a string of games that includes their 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders on Monday at Xcel Energy Center, the Wild have surrendered an average of 5.2 goals in their past five losses. Joel Eriksson Ek gave the Wild a 1-0 lead 5:41 into the game, and Filip Gustavsson stopped xx shots.

Spurgeon, 34, hasn’t played since Jan. 2. He missed the first 14 games of the season with an upper body injury. He was injured on a check into the boards by Chicago wing Ryan Donato on Dec. 3 but returned late to finish that game, then played the next 14 games before being sidelined by what the team called a lower body injury.

Spurgeon is signed through 2027 with a salary cap hit of $7.57 million. Because he is on long-term injured reserve, the Wild now have that cap space to play with, now and/or at the March 8 trade deadline. They could trade for a veteran or call up another rookie from AHL Iowa.

The latter option seems more and more likely as the losses are again piling up, 2-6-1 in their last night before Thursday’s game. During his midseason meeting with reporters on Monday, general manager Bill Guerin said adding young prospects to a team already deep with veterans is a major part of his plan to build a Stanley Cup winner.

After Thursday night’s loss, the Wild are 2-8-1 since Dec. 30 and eight points out of a Western Conference playoff spot pending late games for Nashville and Edmonton.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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