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Wild Warmup: Minnesota vs. Vegas

Galchenyuk could make Wild debut Tuesday night against Golden Knights

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /
The essentials

Who: Vegas Golden Knights (28-21-8) at Minnesota Wild (26-23-6)

Puck drop: 7:08 p.m. CT

Watch: FOX Sports North, FOX Sports App

Listen: KFAN FM 100.3, Wild Radio NetworkWild NHL App

Follow: @mnwild, @mnwildscribe; GameCenter

The Wild Warmup is presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling

ST. PAUL -- The Wild returns to action Tuesday night against the Vegas Golden Knights and will look quite a bit differently than it did last time out.

Minnesota acquired forward Alex Galchenyuk, prospect defenseman Calen Addison and a conditional first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Jason Zucker on Monday night.

Zucker's 14 goals were third-most on the Wild this season and his 29 points were sixth despite the fact he's missed 10 games this season because of injury. 

Zucker was also one of the most tenured members of the Wild; only captain Mikko Koivu had been with the team longer than Zucker, a second-round pick of the Wild in 2010 who debuted with the club in 2012. 

Video: Penguins acquire Zucker for Galchenyuk, Addison, pick

Galchenyuk is scheduled to arrive in the Twin Cities on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to be in the lineup against the Golden Knights. 

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-born forward, who turns 26 on Wednesday, was selected third overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2012 and debuted the following season, scoring nine goals and 27 points during the lockout-shortened 2013 season.

His best season came in 2015-16, when Galchenyuk scored 30 goals and 56 points as a 21-year-old with the Habs. 

He's been unable to get back to that level, but was a productive scorer over his two final years in Montreal. He was traded to Arizona before the 2018-19 season, where he tallied 19 goals and 41 points before he was traded again, this time to the Penguins as part of the deal that sent Phil Kessel to the desert.

In 45 games this season with Pittsburgh, Galchenyuk scored five goals and had 17 points, mostly in a third- and fourth-line role. 

That may be where he gets slotted in with the Wild on Tuesday, but as he adjusts to life with his fourth team in three years, the opportunity for more ice time could present itself. 

Video: Fiala finding February success

Still just 26 -- well, almost 26 -- there is plenty of upside potential in Galchenyuk's game. A left-handed left winger, he can also play center in a pinch, providing the kind of versatility Bruce Boudreau likes in his forwards. 

Zach Parise, who did not practice on Monday, is expected to play. Boudreau said his absence was nothing more than a maintenance day.

The Golden Knights, who returned home from an eight-game road trip on Saturday in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, are back on the road for a single game Tuesday before heading back west to start a five-game stretch at T-Mobile Arena.

The matchup between the clubs is the second of three meetings this season. The Golden Knights won 3-2 in Las Vegas in December, getting goals from Chandler Stephenson, Shea Theodore and Tomas Nosek. The win was Vegas' first-ever regulation victory against the Wild. Parise and Mats Zuccarello had goals for Minnesota.

Mark Stone leads the Knights with 33 assists and 53 points. Max Pacioretty has a team-high 24 goals. In all, Vegas has seven players with at least 31 points. 

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has a 21-13-5 record in 40 games (39 starts) this season, with a 2.82 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.

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