Ex-Gophers C Eric Haula likely to make Wild debut

ST. PAUL, Minn. — In less than a year, Erik Haula may be
going from the Minnesota Gophers to the Minnesota Wild.

Haula, 22, was recalled by the Wild on Friday after the team
placed forward Mike Rupp on designated non-roster status. Rupp is leaving the team
for personal reasons.

Haula, a seventh-round draft choice by the Wild in 2009, is
expected to make his NHL debut Friday when Minnesota hosts the Colorado
Avalanche. Haula was tied for second with points for the Iowa Wild this season,
Minnesota’s American Hockey League affiliate. Haula has four goals and six
assists for Iowa this season after three seasons at the University of
Minnesota.

The Wild are short-handed at forward without Rupp and center
Mikael Granlund, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday after leaving
Wednesday’s game with an upper-body injury. Minnesota recalled forward Jason
Zucker on Thursday.

Haula can help fill the void at center due to the absence of
Granlund. Haula, who was with Minnesota in training camp this season, has the
ability to play center or wing. In 114 games with the Gophers, Haula played
center and wing, and had 42 goals and 82 assists. Haula led the Gophers in
scoring in each of the past two seasons with 51 points (16 goals, 35 assists)
last season and 49 points (20, 29) as a sophomore the previous year.

Rupp had recently returned after missing 24 games with a
lower-body injury and played in two games for the Wild this season. In 32 games
with Minnesota last season, Rupp had one goal, three assists and 67 penalty
minutes.

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