Jared Spurgeon was a full participant in an hour-long practice Monday morning at TRIA Rink and traveled with the team for a three-game road trip through New York.
The veteran defenseman went through some contact drills for the first time since suffering an upper body injury in a preseason game. He has been skating for more than a week, and has practiced with the team since last Wednesday.
Asked if Spurgeon could play his first game of the season on the trip, head coach Dean Evason said, “There’s a possibility, for sure. Where? When? Who knows?”
Spurgeon hasn’t played in a game since being checked into the boards in a 3-2 shootout win over the Blackhawks on Oct. 5 in Chicago.
“He’s progressing quite nicely into full practice,” Evason added.
Rookie defenseman Brock Faber said it will be nice to have Spurgeon on the trip.
“Whether he plays or not, it makes a big difference,” he said. “Guys feel his presence, so it’s great to have him. Obviously, we miss him back there, but once he’s healthy he’ll get back.
“But when he’s there, you feel his presence — just his sense of humor, his looseness, but also his leadership.”
Marcus Johansson, withheld from Sunday’s outdoor scrimmage for precautionary reasons, was a full participant in Monday’s practice and expected to be available Tuesday against the Islanders.
The Wild also recalled veteran center Nic Petan, 28, from Iowa for the trip. He has 12 points in 10 games in Des Moines. Minnesota plates Tuesday, the back-to-backs against the Rangers and Buffalo on Thursday and Friday before returning for a Sunday game against Dallas as the X.
“We have a long road trip coming up here, and have a long way to go, obviously, so we got an extra defenseman and extra forward,” Evason said.
The Wild have seven blue liners on the roster. Rookie Brandon Hunt played in place of veteran Jon Merrill in Saturday’s victory over the Rangers, his first full NHL game, and seems likely to play on Tuesday.
Marc-Andre Fleury will start Tuesday against the Islanders. He replaced Filip Gustavsson in the first period of Saturday’s 5-4 shootout win over the Rangers, stopping 13 of 14 shots in regulation and overtime, and 3 of 4 in the shootout.