Erik Haula was hopeful he’d be returning to the Minnesota Wild following the Olympic break. His game has him back in Minnesota.
The Wild recalled Haula and defenseman Steven Kampfer from the Iowa Wild on Monday. Minnesota’s first game after the two-week break for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia is on Feb. 27 at Edmonton. The next home game for the Wild is March 3 against the Calgary Flames.
Haula, 22, has two goals and two assists in 15 games so far in his rookie season for Minnesota. He was sent back to Iowa to continue playing during the break, falling shy of the NHL-mandated guideline of playing in 16 of the 20 games before the break which would have left him ineligible to return to Iowa.
"I look at it as a huge plus," Haula said before the NHL break. "I get to go down there and get a lot of ice time and just stay in shape, just keep working on my game and hopefully after break I get to come back. If not, then I’ll just keep working on my game and just wait for the opportunity again."
Haula scored his first two NHL goals in the 15 games before the break after being recalled in January. He played a fourth-line center role before being reassigned to the American Hockey League.
In seven games with Iowa during the break, Haula had five goals, five assists and 23 shots on goal.
"Obviously, when a young player comes up you don’t obviously know what to expect," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said before the break. "We got into situations at different times where there was opportunity for a guy because of who was out of the lineup and he took advantage of it. He’s built it. He’s built that confidence in us."
Kampfer, 25, was recalled for the first time this season by Minnesota. Kampfer has five goals, 14 assists and 35 penalty minutes in 49 games for Iowa this season. He has seven goals and eight assists in 61 NHL games, including two goals and an assist in 13 games for the Wild in 2011-12.