The Minnesota Wild's injury report is beginning to rival the length of a six-year-old's wish list for Santa Claus, but General Manager Chuck Fletcher says his waiver wire pickup of center Andrew Ebbett from the Chicago Blackhawks, was more of a move to add skill than a healthy body.
"He's a skilled center ice man and we felt it was an opportunity to upgrade out depth at center and increase the skill level of our team" said Fletcher.
On Monday, the 26-year-old Ebbett will join the Wild, which will be the third NHL team he'll suit up for this season. The former Michigan Wolverine standout started the season with the Anaheim Ducks, but was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Blackhawks two games into the season. Ebbett played 10 games for the Blackhawks and notched one goal. In 48 games with the Ducks last year, he posted 32 points, including eight goals, six of which came on the power play.
With the addition of the 5-foot-9, 174-pound Ebbett, Minnesota won't be getting any bigger, but it will be getting faster.
"This is just an opportunity to improve our depth and add a player that's had some success at the NHL level," said Fletcher. "It'll be an opportunity for Andrew to come in and show us what he can do, and it will be an opportunity for us to see how he fits. It's really a low-risk proposition for us."
The Wild was missing six players during last night's 3-2 win over the New York Islanders including: Brent Burns (illness), Martin Havlat (hamstring), Chuck Kobasew (lower body), Benoit Pouliot (upper body), Petr Sykora (concussion) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard
(concussion). Fletcher acknowledged that Bouchard and Sykora remain out for an undetermined amount of time, but he expects the others back shortly.
This move also could make James Sheppard's move to wing a permanent one, as the youngster and Owen Nolan were centered by Eric Belanger. Sheppard responded with an assist in one of his best games of the season. Fletcher did not speculate on where Ebbett fits into the lineup, saying that is solely up to Head Coach Todd Richards and his staff.
Fletcher also assigned Danny Irmen and Nathan Smith to Houston this morning.