Description: Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky is a high-end No. 3 defenseman in fantasy this year.
Insight: Zidlicky will start the year playing the point on the Devils power play. Eventually, we expect youngster Eric Gelinas to take that role sometime this year, but Zidlicky should produce on the power play and put up solid plus/minus numbers with D-partner Bryce Salvador.
Description: Thomas Vanek has signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Wild.
Insight: Minnesota will be the fourth team Vanek has played for since the start of the 2013-14 season. Vanek played for the University of Minnesota from 2002-04. He had fantasy value everywhere he went last season, producing nine points in 13 games with Buffalo, 15 points in 18 games with Montreal and 44 points in 47 games with the New York Islanders. He should challenge the 70-point mark again in 2014-15.
Description: Wild goaltender Josh Harding (illness) practiced Wednesday for the first time since January, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Harding was having a Vezina-worthy season, going 18-7-3 with a 1.66 GAA and a .933 SV%, but complications from changes in his multiple sclerosis medication have kept him out since the end of December.
Description: Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper left Monday's practice with an upper-body injury, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Kuemper has rescued Minnesota after it lost Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom, going 12-8-4 with a 2.43 GAA and a .915 SV%. GM Chuck Fletcher said Kuemper will "hopefully (miss) just a few days, but it's hard to know fo sure." Ilya Bryzgalov will take over in net.
Description: Minnesota left wing Zach Parise blew up for two goals Saturday against Phoenix.
Insight: He accomplished the feat in a little under 19 minutes of ice time. Parise has scored in three of his last four games. The Wild are seventh in the Western Conference (87 points) with seven games left on the schedule.
Description: Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom underwent successful core surgery on Tuesday. SOURCE: Wild on Twitter
Insight: The team ruled him out for the season weeks ago so this doesn't change anything. Backstrom will finish the 2013-14 campaign with a 5-11-2 record in 21 appearances. His 3.02 GAA was the worst of his eight-year career.
Description: Wild left wing Matt Moulson was all over the Islanders on Tuesday night.
Insight: He scored the first and last goals of the game and assisted on a goal in between. Tuesday was Moulson's seventh game since being traded on March 5th. The 30-year-old has played for three different teams in 2013-14 (Wild, Sabres and Islanders).
Description: Wild right winger Jason Pominville extended his points streak to five games on Monday.
Insight: Pominville scored his fourth goal in the last five games and 26th of the season against the Bruins. The 31-year-old was a five-time 60-point scorer from 2007 through 2012 with Buffalo but he has to stay hot if he's going to get there this season. He needs 12 points in the final games.
Description: The Sabres have dealt Matt Moulson to the Minnesota Wild along with Cody McCormick for Torrey Mitchell and draft picks. SOURCE: Buffalo News
Insight: Moulson will be a free agent after the season. The 30-year-old has 38 points in 55 games this season, including 29 in 44 games since joining the Sabres from the Islanders in the Thomas Vanek trade. It's unclear who Moulson will skate with, but he'll certainly be in a better fantasy situation than before.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom is done for the season with an abdominal injury, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Backstrom had sports hernia surgery last offseason and had a terrible year, losing his job to Josh Harding while dealing with several injuries. With Harding out indefinitely due to multiple sclerosis, Darcy Kuemper (11-3-2, 2.19 GAA, .924 SV%) is now the full-time starter, with newly acquired Ilya Bryzgalov backing him up.
Description: The Oilers traded Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday for a fourth-rounder.
Insight: Bryzgalov went 5-8-5 with a 3.01 GAA And a .908 SV% over 20 games in Edmonton. The Wild were in need of a backup to rookie Darcy Kuemper (11-3-2, 2.19 GAA, .924 SV%) with Niklas Backstrom dealing with injuries and ineffectiveness and Josh Harding still on injured reserve due to illness. Edmonton acquired Viktor Fasth from the Ducks Tuesday to back up Ben Scrivens.
Description: Wild center Mikko Koivu (ankle) will likely sit one of the next two games, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: A broken ankle forced Koivu (8 G, 27 A) to miss the Winter Olympics, and coach Mike Yeo said playing back-to-back games right off the bat may be tough for him. He's more likely to play in Friday's contest.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom is questionable for Thursday's game against Edmonton with an abdominal strain.
Insight: Previously listed as doubtful, he had a decent practice on Wednesday. Backstrom (5-11-2, 3.02 GAA, .899 SV%) should be considered day-to-day. He's having an "off" season which he blames on injuries dating back to 2012-13.
Description: Minnesota center Mikko Koivu (ankle) will not play Thursday and his Olympic status is up in the air, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Monday was four weeks to the day since Koivu underwent ankle surgery and he hasn't even been cleared to practice with the team yet, much less play. He's been skating on his own but appears doubtful to play in the Olympics.
Description: Minnesota center Mikko Koivu (ankle) is unlikely to play this week, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Minnesota has two games left before the Olympic break. Monday was four weeks to the day since Koivu underwent ankle surgery and he hasn't practiced with his teammates yet, though he did skate on his own again Monday and is feeling good. His status for Sochi is still up in the air.
Description: Minnesota netminder Niklas Backstrom has been battling abdominal stiffness and took a cortisone shot earlier in the week.
Insight: Backstrom (5-10-2, 3.02 GAA, .899 SV%) should be considered day-to-day. He's having an "off" season which he blames on injuries dating back to 2012-13. At this point, Darcy Kuemper is a better option.
Description: Minnesota winger Zach Parise (foot) said he has a "50-50" chance of playing Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Parise has missed 14 straight games with a foot injury but has participated in two straight full-contact practices. Coach Mike Yeo said the team will make a decision on Parise after Thursday's morning skate. "If he feels good to go, then obviously he's in," Yeo said. "It's got to be, basically, that he knows, and he's confident, that he's up to full speed. And that he's ready to come in and play at the level we need him to."
Description: Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper will start again Saturday, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Kuemper was recalled to back up Niklas Backstrom when Josh Harding went on the injured reserve list due to an illness, but he has replaced Backstrom as the fill-in starter. The 23-year-old has gone 3-1-0 over his last four starts while allowing just four goals in that span.
Description: Minnesota center Mikko Koivu (ankle) is already walking without crutches after undergoing surgery on Jan. 6, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Koivu was given a four-week timetable at the time of the surgery, but he said he expects to be back with the Wild before the team breaks for the Winter Olympics on Feb. 9. Koivu is expected to captain the Finnish team.
Description: Wild goaltender Josh Harding (illness) skated with the team prior to Tuesday's game and is expected to practice Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. He has played just one game since Dec. 17 and none since Dec. 31.
Insight: Harding is dealing with an adjustment in his medication for multiple sclerosis and hasn't been feeling well. He's still without a timetable for his return to the net.
Description: Minnesota goalie Darcy Kuemper earned his first career shutout Sunday against Nashville.
Insight: Kuemper stopped 23 shots in the victory. Lately he's been splitting time in net with Niklas Backstrom. Josh Harding was the team's primary goaltender earlier in the year but he's been out with an illness recently.
Description: Minnesota center Mikko Koivu (ankle surgery) is confident he'll return to action with the Wild before the Olympics begin, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Koivu had ankle surgery on Jan. 6 after taking a puck to the skate two days prior and was given a four-week timetable. The Wild play on Feb. 1, 4 and 6 before breaking for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Koivu is expected to captain the Finnish team.
Description: Wild goaltender Josh Harding (illness) skated with goalie coach Bob Mason before Saturday's practice, according to the Star Tribune. Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said it was a good sign to see Harding on the ice but didn't have a timetable for his return.
Insight: Harding spent nearly two weeks on injured reserve in December to deal with an adjustment in his medication for multiple sclerosis, and his newest illness is likely related. He's played just two games since Dec. 17 and none since Dec. 31.
Description: According to the Star Tribune, Wild coach Mike Yeo said there is no specific timetable for Zach Parise (foot) to return to practice but hopes he'll at least be skating on his own by next week.
Insight: Parise suffered a foot injury in late November and worsened his condition by sitting out just one game. A stress fracture has kept him out since Dec. 22.
Description: The Wild have placed goalie Josh Harding (illness) on injured reserve.
Insight: Harding spent nearly two weeks on injured reserve in December to deal with an adjustment in his medication for multiple sclerosis, and his newest illness is likely related. Niklas Backstrom will fill in until Harding is healthy.
Description: Minnesota center Mikko Koivu had ankle surgery and will miss about a month, according to Wild beat reporter Michael Russo.
Insight: The 30-year-old has been very productive this season with eight goals and 27 assists in 44 games playing on the team's first line with Dany Heatley and Jason Pominville. Charlie Coyle could center the two wingers and be a viable short-term option.
Description: Zach Parise's lower body injury may keep him out a while. SOURCE: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Insight: Parise bruised his foot about a month ago and probably should have waited before coming back. Now he's aggravated the injury and it's worse than before. Fantasy owners should expect a lengthy absence.
Description: Wild goalie Josh Harding has been activated from injured reserve. SOURCE: Michael Russo, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Insight: Harding needed some time off to adjust his multiple sclerosis medication. He's been excellent this season, compiling a 1.51 GAA in 27 games. It's unknown if he'll start Friday's game against Winnipeg.
Description: Wild winger Zach Parise (lower body) is not expected to travel with the team to Winnipeg for Friday's game, according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Parise is dealing with a lower-body injury that is believed to be related to the foot contusion that he suffered in late November. He was supposed to be out 2-3 weeks when it first happened but only missed one game.
Description: Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise did not play Monday at Philadelphia and is questionable for Friday's game against Winnipeg.
Insight: Parise is dealing with a lower-body injury. It is believed to be related to the foot contusion that he suffered in late November. He was supposed to be out 2-3 weeks when it first happened but only missed one game. The offensively-challenged Wild can't afford to be without his offense - 15 goals, 12 assists in 37 games.
Description: Wild left wing Zach Parise will not play Monday at Philadelphia.
Insight: Parise is dealing with a lower-body injury, according to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. It is believed to be related to the foot contusion that he suffered in late November. The injury reportedly never healed and has had Parise limping the last few weeks. He was supposed to be out 2-3 weeks when it first happened but only missed one game.
Description: Wild right wing Dany Heatley scored one of Minnesota's two goals in a loss to Pittsburgh Thursday.
Insight: Heatley said in the offseason he'd be disappointed if he didn't get at least 30 goals after picking up 11 in 36 games last season. The 32-year-old has just seven goals and 11 points in 37 games so far. He's also a -9 and is not worth owning.
Description: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding has been placed on injured reserve. SOURCE: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Insight: Harding needs an adjustment in his medication for multiple sclerosis. He'll be eligible to return December 27th at Winnipeg. Niklas Backstrom is expected to start in net Thursday versus Pittsburgh.
Description: Somehow, Wild left wing Zach Parise (foot contusion) was able to return Friday against Colorado after being given a 2-to-3 week recovery timetable earlier in the week. SOURCE: Michael Russo, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Insight: Parise only ended up missing one game. Employ the talented 29-year-old as you normally would.
Description: Minnesota left wing Zach Parise (foot) surprisingly participated in Tuesday's morning skate, one day after being given a 2-3 week timetable due to a foot contusion. SOURCE: startribune.com
Insight: Parise, who suffered the injury while blocking an Alex Steen slap shot Monday night, won't play Wednesday night but should be back sooner than initially expected. "I was stunned to be honest with you," Wild coach Mike Yeo said about Parise participating Tuesday. "I shouldn’t say that because that’s the way he is talking to him even yesterday. It’s very encouraging. It’s a great example to everybody just how bad he wants to compete and help the team."
Description: Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom suffered a concussion Wednesday night against Toronto and will miss Sunday's game against Winnipeg.
Insight: Josh Harding has been playing great with a 11-2-2 record, 1.26 GAA and .945 SV% so there is no need to rush Backstrom into the lineup. Given the unknown nature of a concussion, there is no timetable for his return. Johan Gustafsson will backup Harding.
Description: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding is under the weather, so Niklas Backstrom will make his first start since Oct. 28 Wednesday night against Toronto.
Insight: Backstrom opened the season as the starter but suffered an injury early in October and has struggled in two starts since returning. Harding, meanwhile, has been dominant, going 9-2-2 with a 1.22 GAA and a .947 SV% in 14 games.
Description: Wild center Mikael Granlund has scored a goal in two of the last three games after failing to get one in the first 14.
Insight: The 21-year-old has two goals and 12 points in 17 games this season. He's currently centering Minnesota's second line with Jason Pominville and Nino Niederreiter on the wings, so he should be able to maintain this level of production.
Description: Wild center Charlie Coyle is doubtful for Tuesday's game against Calgary.
Insight: Coyle didn't score in the three games he played this season. He's expected to play with Zach Parise and Dany Heatley and could produce decent fantasy results if the trio has success. Take a wait-and-see attitude.
Description: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding will miss Monday's game against Chicago after he suffered a lower-body injury Thursday night.
Insight: Harding has been nearly impenetrable so far, allowing just eight goals on 171 shots in 479 minutes (1.00 GAA, .953 SV%) while filling in for Niklas Backstrom (knee). Backstrom is back so the Wild can get through with Johan Gustafsson as his backup.
Description: Wild right wing Jason Pominville potted a pair of goals Saturday in a win over Chicago.
Insight: Minnesota is off to a solid 6-3-3 start and Pominville's play has been a big reason why. He now has six goals in his first 12 games of the season. Pominville only had ten scores in 37 games last season.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom (knee) will make his first start since Oct. 8 Saturday against the Blackhawks.
Insight: The team actually activated Backstrom more than a week ago, but he's been stuck on the bench behind Josh Harding, who is 5-2-1 with a 1.00 GAA and a .953 SV%. Harding's lower-body injury gives Backstrom a window to get his starting job back.
Description: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding suffered a lower-body injury Thursday night. The 29-year-old will miss Saturday's game.
Insight: Harding has been nearly impenetrable so far, allowing just eight goals on 171 shots in 479 minutes (1.00 GAA, .953 SV%) while filling in for Niklas Backstrom (knee). Backstrom is back and could use Harding's injury to regain his starting job.
Description: Minnesota goalie Josh Harding saw just 16 shots Tuesday against Nashville and stopped all of them for his first shutout of the season.
Insight: The 29-year-old is playing out of his mind right now, allowing just seven goals on 150 shots (.953 SV%) and posting a 0.96 GAA in eight games. Even though Niklas Backstrom returned from his injury last week, the team won't remove Harding from net while he is playing like this.
Description: Darcy Kuemper will start in net for the Wild Tuesday at Toronto.
Insight: Kuemper was called up to serve as Josh Harding's backup following Niklas Backstrom's injury. Kuemper played six games last season and went 1-2-0 with a 2.08 GAA and a .916 SV%. Backstrom skated Monday and could return this week, so fantasy owners can ignore Kuemper and Harding.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom (knee) was a full participant in Monday's pre-game practice, but is still questionable for Tuesday's game with Toronto.
Insight: Backstrom suffered a right knee strain Tuesday. The Wild started a four-game road trip Monday and Backstrom (0-0, 3.40 GAA, .849 SV%) hopes to play in one of them. Josh Harding played well on Monday in a 2-1 victory and should get the assignment on Tuesday.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom (knee) is doubtful for Monday's game against Buffalo.
Insight: Backstrom suffered a right knee strain Tuesday and while he practiced Friday says his knee is "not normal yet," according to the Star Tribune. The Wild start a four-game road trip and Backstrom (0-0, 3.40 GAA, .849 SV%) hopes to play in one of them.
Description: Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom (knee) practiced Friday during the team's optional skate, but says his knee is "not normal yet," according to the Star Tribune.
Insight: Backstrom suffered a right knee strain Tuesday. "I’m glad it’s not serious. It felt pretty bad (Tuesday) But the MRI said everything wasn’t as bad as thought first. Now it’s just rehab and work and get back out there as soon as I can." Josh Harding will start until Backstrom is ready to return.
Description: With starter Niklas Backstrom sidelined with a lower-body injury, the Wild will go with Josh Harding in net Thursday against the Jets.
Insight: Harding played just five games in 2012-13 due to continued complications from multiple sclerosis and had a 3.24 GAA. He also started all five games in Minnesota's first-round playoff series loss to the Blackhawks last season after Backstrom suffered an injury in pre-game warmups prior to Game 1 and had a 2.94 GAA. Fantasy owners can avoid him.
Description: Wild winger Zach Parise scored two goals on six shots Saturday night against the Ducks and has 14 SOG through two games.
Insight: Parise averaged 1.08 ppg from 2008-2010 but since then has averaged 0.79 ppg. He had 18 goals and 38 points in 48 games during his first season in Minnesota. However, he has kept his fantasy value up by taking more than 3.5 SOG per game.
Description: Right wing Jason Pominville has agreed to a five-year, $28 million contract extension with Minnesota. SOURCE: Pierre LeBrun, ESPN
Insight: Pominville was dealt to the Wild last April after spending his first eight and a half seasons with Buffalo. His numbers (14 goals, 20 assists in 47 games last season) would suggest that he's in the prime of his career.