ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild called up some defensive reinforcement for the opening of the playoffs in Chicago, adding defenseman Marco Scandella from the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League.
Minnesota, the eighth seed in the Western Conference, is in the playoffs for the first time in five years and face the top-seeded Blackhawks on Tuesday.
“We’ve seen Marco play a lot of good games and the skating ability, the big body, the execution, his best games look very, very good,” coach Mike Yeo said. “And that’s what we’re counting on him to come up and bring.”
Scandella, 23, played in six games for the Wild earlier this season with a goal and four penalty minutes. He was sent down to Houston in early February and had two goals and 15 assists in 45 games for the Aeros. Scandella added one goal in two Calder Cup playoff games for Houston.
“Excellent and in a lot of ways that’s sort of what we’ve been waiting for,” Yeo said of Scandella’s play in the playoffs for the Aeros. “We knew that there’s been some injuries that he’s had to deal with. But a lot of it for us has sort of been getting him to the point where he’s back and he’s comfortable and he’s playing well. We weren’t sure when this was going to happen and we were hoping it was going to happen a little bit earlier, but we’re happy to have him here.”
Minnesota reassigned forward Stephane Veilleux to Houston in a corresponding move.
Scandella played 63 games for the Wild last season, with three goals and nine assists. He was second among all NHL rookies last year in blocked shots (106) and average time on ice (21 minutes, 46 seconds).