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Looking ahead, Wild quickly get prospect Liam Ohgren into a game

Out of the playoff race, the Wild are officially looking ahead over their last four regular-season games. Forward Liam Ohgren was set to make his NHL debut in Friday’s late start at Vegas, and rookie Jesper Wallstedt is scheduled to make his third NHL start on Saturday in San Jose.

Ohgren, 21, joined the Wild’s American League team for four games after his Swedish Hockey League team Färjestad BK was swept in the first round of the playoffs.

The Wild’s first-round pick in the 2022 entry draft, he was unable to participate in the Wild’s training camp this fall because of a back injury that cost him three months, but he was part of the Sweden team that lost to the U.S. in the gold medal game of the IHFF World Junior Championships in January, and he played three scoreless games in Iowa before being called up on Wednesday.

“I didn’t expect I was going to play a game this year,” Ohgren told reporters after Friday’s morning skate at the Knights’ T-Mobile Arena. “It’s been a bumpy road, but I’m really glad that I’m here.”

Ohgren, 20, was set to play left wing on a line with rookie center Marat Khustnutdinov and veteran wing Vinni Lettieri. Six-feet and 187 pounds, Ohgren called himself a power forward with skill who is responsible at both ends of the ice.

“He looks ready. I thought he looked good in practice,” head coach John Hynes told reporters after the skate. “He fit in and looks like an NHL player.”

Ohgren said he hopes to be with the Wild in 2024-25.

“I hope so. I’m going to do everything I can to make the team next year,” he said. “I feel like I’ve developed a lot this year, and I’m taking steps every time. So, I’m going to do everything I can.”

Wallstedt, 21, is penciled in to make his third NHL start against the Sharks on Saturday at SAP Center. He earned his first NHL victory last Sunday in Chicago, making 24 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Blackhawks.

Shorthanded

The Wild were without veteran forwards Mats Zuccarello and Freddy Gaudreau on Friday, each away from the team for personal reasons.

Head coach John Hynes said he was unsure if either player would return in time to play in San Jose on Saturday.

“Still up for debate,” he told reporters.

The Wild already were without veteran wing Marcus Foligno, who had season-ending surgery to repair core muscles this month.

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