Through three games, the Wild have scored just seven goals -- including only two playing 5-on-5. With the top-line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville generating a vast majority of the team's quality chances, Yeo has decided to move some parts around in the hopes of balancing his lineup and getting his second line going offensively as his team hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday at Xcel Energy Center.
The most prominent change comes on that top line, where right wing Pominville has been moved to the second line and replaced with Nino Niederreiter.
For the 21-year old Niederreiter, who was traded to the Wild over the summer from the New York Islanders in exchange for Cal Clutterbuck and a draft pick, it's an opportunity earned because of his strong play through the team's first three games.
"It's a great opportunity to play with players like they are. I think I can definitely learn a lot in that situation," Niederreiter said. "It's really exciting, but I know I need to get better each day.
Yeo hopes putting a big body like the 6-foot-2 Niederreiter on the top line could perhaps replicate the success Parise and Koivu had playing last season with Charlie Coyle, another big bodied youngster who occupied the right wing.
Minnesota's coach also wants to see if he can get his team's second line going. Through three games, five of the team's seven goals have come on the power play. Three of those man-advantage goals have come from the Wild's first group, which consists of Pominville, Parise and Koivu.
That line has also been the lone group able to get sustained offensive pressure 5-on-5.
With Mikael Granlund centering the second line in place of an injured Coyle, Yeo hopes the infusion of Pominville can also help kick-start veteran left wing Dany Heatley, who is pointless through three games.
"When the chances are not getting generated, when there is very little sustained pressure, then that's a reason for concern," Yeo said. "That's what we're hoping for [Thursday], balancing things a little more and providing a spark to some of those other groups."
Minnesota called up Jason Zucker after Coyle was injured last Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, but sent him back to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on Wednesday following Minnesota's 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.
Yeo also tweaked Minnesota's back end, moving Keith Ballard up with Jared Spurgeon on the team's second pairing. Rookie Matt Dumba is expected to play in his second National Hockey League game with Clayton Stoner on the third pair. Marco Scandella, who has skated with Spurgeon in each game so far, will be scratched.
"If he's not 100 percent, it's silly [to have him available]," Yeo said. "Especially if the backup is going in, chances are he's going in cold. You have got to make sure you're protecting him and doing the right thing for the team."
Yeo did say he thought Backstrom would travel with the team when it embarks on a four-game Eastern Conference road trip starting Monday in Buffalo against the Sabres.
Winnipeg is playing the first of three games in four nights and held an optional morning skate Thursday. Jets coach Claude Noel said he was pleased with the two days of practice the team has put in since its 3-2 loss Sunday against the Anaheim Ducks at MTS Centre.
Noel said any potential lineup changes would be game-time decisions, although wing Chris Thorburn will likely miss Thursday's contest with an undisclosed injury. He didn't practice with the team Tuesday or Wednesday.
Here are the projected lineups for Thursday night:
Injured: Chris Thorburn (undisclosed)