Wild Hope Joel Eriksson Ek Can Return by End of 1st Round

Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

Joel Eriksson Ek has been one of the Most consistent figures in the Minnesota Wild lineup for most of the last decade. That’s why his absence, which is due to a lower body injury sustained while blocking a shot on April 6, will hurt more than just about any other loss the team could endure, entering the postseason.

Wild hope Joel Eriksson Ek can return sooner than later

But there does appear to be hope glimmering on the horizon. According to Michael Russo (The Athletic), GM Bill Guerin — who quietly signed a new contract extension recently — is holding out hope that Ek can return to the Wild lineup before the end of the first round, should the series push deep.

But asked if [the Eriksson Ek injury] changes his expectations for the Wild this postseason, Guerin responded instantly and bluntly: “Nope.”

Why’s that?

“The identity that they’ve shown — the details, the structure, how hard and physical we play,” said Guerin, who still is holding out hope Eriksson Ek could return late in the first round if it’s a long series.

Michael Russo – The Athletic
Minnesota Wild need Eriksson Ek

Joel Eriksson Ek set career highs in both assists (38) and points (61) in 2022-23, to go along with 23 goals. But his effectiveness goes far beyond the boxscore. Ek is a team leader and a guy every opposing player hates playing against.

The Wild will be a much better team if Ek can get anywhere near healthy and back on the ice. Without him, any sort of deep run feels next to impossible, given the lack of high-end talent Minnesota has up the middle.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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