ST. PAUL, Minn. -- St. Louis Blues forward Kyle Brodziak is back in a familiar place, playing against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Brodziak had spent the previous six seasons with the Wild.
"Definitely different," the 31-year-old center said. "I know there's probably going to be some nerves, but I'm just going to try and have fun with it. I'm going to try not to think about it too much. But it'll obviously be different playing against the guys you played with for such a long time."
Brodziak, one of the more popular players with the Wild throughout the years, still keeps in touch with many of his former teammates, including captain Mikko Koivu, who dressed next to Brodziak for years. Koivu said going against his pal would be a little surreal.
"Especially the first time," Koivu said. "And I'm sure for him, I don't know if I would say difficult, but for sure different and I'm sure he's going to be a little bit nervous."
Brodziak's 446 games are the seventh-most in Wild history. He had 72 goals and 169 points and ranks in the top 10 in many of the Wild's all-time scoring records.
But with Minnesota up against the salary cap this summer, the Wild and Brodziak mutually agreed to go in different directions.
"I'm happy for him. He's landed in a good spot and I think he'll do well there," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "He did so many great things for us. He's the kind of guy that, as we became a better team, he really contributed to that and understood the little things."
St. Louis is expected to skate the same 12 forwards as it did in its 3-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday. Forward Troy Brouwer, who took a shot off the skate and did not practice on Friday, will play.
Here are the projected lineups:
Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Jaden Schwartz
Dmitrij Jaskin - David Backes - Troy Brouwer
Steve Ott - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk
Robert Bortuzzo - Colton Parayko
Injured: Patrik Berglund (shoulder)
Scratched: Scott Gomez, Scottie Upshall, Joel Edmundson
Zach Parise - Mikael Granlund - Jason Pominville
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Nino Niederreiter
Thomas Vanek - Charlie Coyle - Jordan Schroeder
Chris Porter - Erik Haula - Ryan Carter
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba
Marco Scandella - Christian Folin
Injured: Justin Fontaine (lower body), Tyler Graovac (lower body)
Scratched: Nate Prosser, Niklas Backstrom
Status Report: Bortuzzo will make his season debut in place of Edmundson. … Allen will make his first start of the season. … Niederreiter skated without issue and will be in the lineup. He left the game in the third period Thursday after crashing awkwardly into the boards. … Graovac has a lower-body injury and will not play. Coyle will slide into Graovac's third-line center spot. Schroeder was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League on Friday and will play right wing on that line.
Who's hot: Tarasenko scored six goals against the Wild during their Stanley Cup Playoff series last season, which was won by Minnesota in six games. ... Parise's hat trick against the Avalanche on Thursday was the third of his NHL career. He became the second player in Wild history to post three goals on opening night.