On Thursday, the Sharks acquired McLaren from the Boston Bruins as part of a three-team deal involving the Montreal Canadiens. San Jose also received a 2004 fourth-round draft pick from Boston and parted with right wing Niklas Sundstrom, defenseman Jeff Jillson and a 2004 third-round pick.
McLaren, who was taken ninth overall in 1995, has played just 38 games over the last two seasons due to a torn wrist ligament and was holding out this season in a contract dispute.
When healthy, the 6-4, 225-pounder is a physical presence who can contribute offensively. He had just eight assists last season but posted a career-best 20 in 66 games in 1997-98.
“Kyle McLaren is a young, physical defenseman who brings elements which will fit with our stable of defensemen for years to come,” Sharks general manager Dean Lombardi said.
Among Western Conference teams, only Columbus (156) has given up more goals than the Sharks (146), who are 0-2-1-2 in five games since a 3-0 win over Vancouver on January 11.
The Sharks are just 4-for-55 on the power play in the last 14 games while the Wild have killed off 30 straight penalties.
Minnesota has won three of its last four games, including the first two of its season-high five-game road trip.
Rookie center Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist, giving him four points in seven games since returning to the Wild from the Canadian National junior team.
The Wild won a pair of November meetings with the Sharks to take a 5-3-2 edge in the all-time series. The teams meet again in Minnesota on February 7.