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Boudreau Tweaks Forward Lines at Friday Practice

Stewart, Pominville swap lines as Wild continues search for right mix

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Stewart - Training Camp Day 15

Chris Stewart - Training Camp Day 15

Chris Stewart talked with Wild TV after skating on a new line in practice as he prepares for the final preseason game against Winnipeg

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- When Chris Stewart signed with the Minnesota Wild on July 1, coach Bruce Boudreau lauded the power forward's ability to slot in all over the lineup.

Last season in Anaheim, Boudreau wasn't afraid to place Stewart in a third or fourth-line role but occasionally moved him up to play with Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry on the Ducks' top grouping.

So far in training camp, Stewart has once again been Boudreau's Swiss Army Knife, able to play a bunch of different roles on all lines.

"At the end of the day, I'm a hockey player. I'm not worried about where I'm playing," Stewart said. "My game is not going to change. I just wait until my name gets called and just try to bring it every night."

Video: Jason Pominville - Training Camp Day 15

During Friday's practice, Stewart skated in a yellow jersey with Nino Niederreiter and Erik Haula on Minnesota's third line after spending a bulk of the last few days with Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund on the second line.

"Two guys that played in the World Cup, so they definitely have some confidence right now," Stewart said. "We're just going to go with it. If that's the line tomorrow, we'll give it all we've got and go from there."

Jason Pominville, who had been with Haula and Niederreiter going back to last season, skated in a gray jersey on the Koivu line. They had been together virtually all week since Niederreiter returned from the World Cup in Toronto on Monday. 

The trio was also Minnesota's top line in a 2-0 loss to Colorado on Tuesday night.

Pominville said he expected the transition to be an easy one because of the familiarity he has with both Koivu and Granlund.

"Me and Mikko have played together in the past and I've played with [Granlund] when he was at center," Pominville said. "They're both easy guys to read off and make plays, make things happen. Hopefully we can be reliable and make things happen offensively."

Boudreau has said throughout camp that lines will remain fluid even after the season starts. The one mainstay grouping over the last two weeks as been the top line of Zach Parise, Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle, a group that looked comfortable last Sunday in a victory over Carolina.

Every other line has seen some moving parts, however, over the course of camp as Boudreau tries to find the right blend heading into the season opener on Thursday in St. Louis.

"We'll see. It was kind of a, 'Well, let's see how this goes,'" Boudreau said. "It was just an idea that I had for reasons that I won't go into. But I just thought it might be a fit.

"Right now, Charlie, Eric and Zach is a pretty good fit. I think Granlund and Koivu is a good fit. Haula and Niederreiter a good fit. I need to find the right guys to play with them."

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