ST. PAUL -- Nick Seeler and his parents, Dan and Kris, were enjoying a nice breakfast at the PerKup Cafe in Des Moines on Sunday when he got a life-changing phone call.
On the other end of the phone was Iowa Wild General Manager and Minnesota's senior vice president of hockey operations Brent Flahr, letting him know that he was being recalled to the NHL for the first time.
In town to watch him play two games over the weekend, little did Dan and Kris know they'd be hopping on Interstate 35 with their son in tow.
"It was fun to be able to share that moment with them and have them there," Seeler said. "It was kind of meant to be. You kind of look back on the journey, and everyone's journey is different. I'm truly blessed to be here and grateful for the opportunity."
For Seeler, it's been a long time coming.
Video: Nick Seeler set to make NHL Debut
He won two state championships at Eden Prairie High School, played one season in the USHL and enrolled at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. After two seasons there, Seeler transferred home, sitting out one season before playing a year with the University of Minnesota.
Following his "junior" season there, he signed his first pro contract with the Wild, the club that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Draft.
Lauded as the organization's most improved prospect last season, Seeler has built on that and had a fantastic season so far in Iowa.
"I've just been trying to pick my spots a little better," Seeler said. "Instead of rushing at the guy in the [defensive] zone the coaches were talking about staying calm and playing my game. I want to play physical in the [defensive] zone and in front of the net and play tough when it's there. Just play my game. That's what they keep telling me."
Playing with an edge has rarely been a problem for Seeler. He racked up 109 penalty minutes last season, getting into seven fights according to the website hockeyfights.com.
But he's also learned to control that emotion, becoming a trusted lock-down defender in his own zone.
"I think he's what we need in that respect, even though he hasn't been up in the NHL before, in that he's big," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "He's a defensive defenseman. I think that's going to bode well for us."
By no means has Seeler turned into a shrinking violet, however. He's gotten into six fights this season and is not afraid to defend his teammates in that regard.
"He's more physical. He doesn't mind getting involved in any rough stuff," Boudreau said. "Sometimes he's over-exuberant, and I'm sure tomorrow he'll be about as excited as he's ever been. We might have to curtail him a little bit."
If Seeler plays, as expected, he will become the 51st Minnesota native to skate in the NHL this season.
"That's cool. I didn't know that," Seeler said. "It's the State of Hockey for a reason -- great fans, great atmosphere, great state. I love it here."
Dubnyk named Third Star
Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week for his performance last week, when he went 2-0-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage in games against St. Louis, Arizona and Chicago.
Dubnyk made 35 saves in a 6-2 win against the Blues, 36 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Coyotes then stopped 44 shots in a 3-0 victory over the Blackhawks.
It's the fifth time Dubnyk has been named one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week since joining Minnesota in January of 2015. He's the second Wild player this season to be named a star of the week, joining Jason Zucker, who was the League's first star for the week of Nov. 13.