Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
 
2014 NHL Draft
SHARE
At the Rink blog

Wild place Konopka on waivers

Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 2:16 PM

By Dan Myers - NHL.com Correspondent / 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Share with your Friends


2013-2014 At the Rink Blog
Wild place Konopka on waivers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- With goaltender Josh Harding under the weather and the Minnesota Wild in need of a roster spot for an extra goalie, the Wild placed forward Zenon Konopka on waivers Thursday prior to the team's game against the Buffalo Sabres.

A gritty fourth-liner who excels in the faceoff circle, Konopka has one goal and one assist in 36 games. He's in the final season of a two-year contract and is making $925,000 this season.

Konopka leads the Wild with 55 penalty minutes and his 65.7-percent faceoff success rate is the best in the NHL among players to take at least 200 faceoffs.

Should Konopka clear waivers, the Wild would have the option of assigning him to the team's American Hockey League affiliate, the Iowa Wild. Coach Mike Yeo said he hasn't thought that far ahead, however.

"When you look at how the lines are right now, this wasn't just an impulse thing," Yeo said. "We want to give it [new forward lines] a real chance to work and we think it can work with the four centermen we have. That kind of put [Konopka] on the outside there.

"We needed a goalie and we needed to make a roster move to make that happen."

Yeo declined to specify whether Harding's illness is related to his multiple sclerosis. Harding missed four games in December while doctors adjusted his medication for the disease. He said Harding would be re-evaluated Friday in hopes he could be ready to go against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

Niklas Backstrom will start in goal Thursday for the Wild and the team has called up Darcy Kuemper from the AHL to back him up.

Here are the expected lineups for both teams:

SABRES

Matt Moulson - Tyler Ennis - Zemgus Girgensons

Steve Ott - Brian Flynn - Drew Stafford

John Scott - Matt Ellis - Matt D'Agostini

Marcus Foligno - Johan Larsson - Linus Omark

Christian Ehrhoff - Mark Pysyk

Tyler Myers - Alexander Sulzer

Jamie McBain - Mike Weber

Ryan Miller

Jhonas Enroth

Scratched: Brayden McNabb

Injured: Cody Hodgson (wrist), Cody McCormick (upper body), Kevin Porter (lower body), Henrik Tallinder (upper body), Ville Leino (lower body)

WILD

Dany Heatley - Mikko Koivu - Jason Pominville

Nino Niederreiter - Mikael Granlund - Jason Zucker

Matt Cooke - Charlie Coyle - Torrey Mitchell

Mike Rupp - Kyle Brodziak - Stephane Veilleux

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella - Jonas Brodin

Nate Prosser - Clayton Stoner

Niklas Backstrom

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Keith Ballard

Injured: Zach Parise (fractured left foot), Josh Harding (illness)

Quote of the Day

What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

— Florida Panthers director of player development Brian Skrudland on defenseman Aaron Ekblad's performance at development camp