During the last week or two, it was easy to see that Wild forward Luke Kunin was getting a little antsy to take the next step in his rehab from ACL surgery.
The rookie forward, who played in 19 games with the NHL club last season before sustaining a torn ACL against the Detroit Red Wings on March 4 and had surgery almost a month later, spent the whole summer working his way back but was not cleared for contact until midway through training camp.
Even when he was, he was not cleared to take part in game action, so while teammates prepared to start the season like normal, all Kunin could do was watch.
Now, the former Wisconsin Badger will get his chance to show what he can do.
Kunin was fully cleared by the team on Sunday and will report to Iowa of the American Hockey League where he will get a chance to play in some games, and hopefully, get back to the NHL soon.
Kunin hasn’t been limited by much, if anything, from a skating perspective since the beginning of camp, but the team wanted to take a cautious approach with its young forward and not rush him back too soon.
Kunin will have plenty of competition for ice time with Iowa, which swept Manitoba over the weekend, scoring wins of 4-1 on Friday and 8-1 on Saturday.
“You want him to be healthy and you want him to play down there a lot and get ready,” Boudreau said. “I think everything depends on him and the way we play. Iowa obviously had a great first week and they have a lot of guys saying, ‘If [Minnesota] keeps stumbling, I want to get my chance up there.'”