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.
Here are the expected lineups for both teams:
Scratched: Brayden McNabb
Scratched: Keith Ballard