ST. PAUL -- Defenseman Kurtis Foster and forward Stephane Veilleux both established themselves as NHL players with the Minnesota Wild.
Following Friday's trade that brought both of them back to the Wild in exchange for defensemen Marek Zidlicky, both say they are excited to be back in a familiar spot and are looking forward to helping Minnesota make one final playoff push.
For Foster, a fan-favorite during his first stint with the Wild, his stop in Minnesota will be his third team this season. After starting the year in Anaheim, the Ducks traded him to New Jersey. He played just nine games on the west coast and only 28 with the Devils.
"You never like being traded," Foster said. "But when you come to a team like this… I've been here, know a lot of the guys, know the city, know how great the fans are, it definitely makes it a lot easier."
Foster and his booming shot will immediately step into Zidlicky's role on the No. 1 power play and will pair with Justin Falk, providing the Wild with a couple of big bodies on the blueline.
"A steady, reliable puck mover, someone who is going to help out our power play," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "You look at the amount of offense we've been able to generate from the back end this year and certainly he will be a welcome addition."
For Veilleux, his return to the Twin Cities is more personal. His wife is from the area, so he has tried on a couple of occasions to return to Minnesota, but it hasn't worked out. Now 30 years old, Veilleux has spent all but one game with Albany in the AHL this season after playing overseas last year and looks at the move back to the Wild as a chance to get his career back on track.
"Couldn't be happier," Veilleux said. "When I got the call yesterday, it was just a great feeling."
Veilleux scored a career-high 13 goals in 2008-09 with the Wild, his final season in Minnesota, but his role here now isn't to score goals in bunches… although as one of the lowest scoring teams in the NHL, the Wild would take it.
"He is full of energy," Yeo said. "His speed is going to be a factor. I'm really anxious to get his energy and his life into our lineup."