Minnesota Wild Player News: Centers

News: Koivu (knee) has been given the green light to start skating and should be good to go for Opening Night, as general manager Paul Fenton told reporters, "Mikko has clearance to start to skate...The way he trains and the way he's been progressing I believe he'll be ready."
Impact: Koivu was limited to just 48 appearances for the Wild this season, but still managed to rack up eight goals and 21 helpers. Once fully fit, the veteran center should still be capable of topping the 50-point mark for the eighth time in his career. Concerns over his health could make Koivu a sneaky fantasy play in season-long formats.
News: Kunin will join the United States at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.
Impact: Kunin split time between the NHL and AHL this season, making 49 appearances for Minnesota in which he tallied six goals, 11 helpers and 88 shots (all career highs). The center figures to be a near lock for next season's Opening Night roster and will almost certainly remain with the big club for the majority of the campaign.
News: Shaw underwent an additional procedure on his surgically repaired ACL in his right knee, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Shaw missed all but one game of the 2017-18 campaign after injuring his knee in a prospect tournament and now could be in doubt heading into 2019-20. After putting up 33 points in 76 games with AHL Iowa this season, the 20-year-old was certainly trending in the right direction. If he is able to suit up for training camp this fall, it could open the door for a potential call-up during the year.
News: Donato was sent down to AHL Iowa on Tuesday.
Impact: Iowa has three regular-season contest remaining as it tries to secure a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs and the addition of Donato should bolster the club's chances. The center logged 22 games with Minnesota this season after being acquired via trade from Boston, in which he registered four goals, 12 helpers and 64 shots. The center saw his ice time jump by over three minute per game with his new club and should benefit from an increased role next season.
News: The Wild sent Kunin back to AHL Iowa on Tuesday.
Impact: Kunin should get some more games on his resume as AHL Iowa makes a push for a postseason berth. While he has yet to click at the top level, owning just 17 points through 49 contests, the 15th overall pick in 2016 could be a breakout candidate next year if they Wild invest in some surrounding talent this offseason.
News: Kunin accumulated six goals and 17 points while averaging 15:53 of ice time in 49 games this campaign.
Impact: Kunin was able to run his career point total up to 21 in 68 career games. The Missouri native will be entering the final year of his entry-level contract, so it'll be important for him to play well in what will most likely be his first full NHL season in 2019-20.
News: Staal registered 22 goals and 52 points in 81 games while averaging 18:08 of ice time this season.
Impact: After a resurgent 74-point season last campaign, it was going to be tough for the 34-year-old to follow that up in 2018-19. The 52 points is the Ontario native's lowest mark in a season since the 2015-16 campaign. Staal is under contract for two more seasons with the Wild following a contract extension he signed in February.
News: Kunin sent out an assist in Tuesday's win over the Jets.
Impact: The Wild's youngster line of Kunin, Jordan Greenway and Joel Eriksson Ek had an odd-man rush midway through the second period, and Kunin connected on a pass to Eriksson Ek, who sent home a snipe to put the Wild up 4-0. Kunin now has 17 points through 47 games.
News: Rask lit the lamp in Tuesday's win over the Jets.
Impact: Rask entered this game pointless in 15 consecutive outings, but he capitalized on a shot from a sharp angle to put the Wild up 3-0 in the first period. The 26-year-old will likely continue to center the second line for the remainder of the regular season.
News: Rask is pointless in his last 10 games while averaging 12:05 of ice time in that span.
Impact: The Wild were hoping for bigger things from Rask, after they acquired him from Carolina on Jan. 19. In 20 games for Minnesota, the 26-year-old has just two points and is a minus-3. With just three games left in the regular season, Rask shouldn't be anywhere near fantasy lineups for the rest of 2019.
News: Donato registered an assist in Friday's 3-2 win over the Golden Knights.
Impact: He's cooled a bit since beginning his Wild career with a five-game point streak after a trade from the Bruins in February, but he still has four goals and 12 helpers in 18 games since the swap. Donato doesn't have much physicality, with only 24 hits and 19 blocked shots in 52 appearances this year, but the point production may make him worth a stash in dynasty leagues using basic scoring categories.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) had three hits over 15:02 of ice time during Friday's 3-2 win over the Golden Knights.
Impact: The Swedish center didn't find his way onto the scoresheet after missing seven contests, but he skated 1:45 more than his season average, indicating he is ready to resume his full role for the Wild. Eriksson Ek has 13 points and 104 hits in 54 games while playing pivot in the bottom six.
News: Staal scored a goal and added an assist -- both on the man advantage -- in Friday's 3-2 win over the Golden Knights.
Impact: Staal had the starring performance for the Wild in this critical victory. He's up to 22 goals and 30 helpers in 77 games, down from the 76 points he posted last season but still a strong campaign. If the Wild are to make up a four-point gap in the standings, Staal will have to be at his absolute best in the last four games of the season.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) will play in Friday's game versus the Golden Knights, Sarah McLellan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Impact: Eriksson Ek is returning from a seven-game string of absences. He'll center the third line with Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin, looking to get back on track offensively after going pointless in his last six games.
News: According to coach Bruce Boudreau, Eriksson Ek (lower body) "looked good" in practice and is expected to rejoin the lineup for Friday's game against the Golden Knights, Chad Graff reports.
Impact: Eriksson Ek's return likely won't result in many fantasy lineup changes, but he should provide a bit more stability to the Wild's bottom six. He slotted in as the team's center on the third line during practice Thursday, positioning him alongside Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin in his return.
News: Erickson Ek will be a game-time decision for Friday's tilt versus the Golden Knights.
Impact: Eriksson Ek hasn't lived up to his first-round billing through parts of three seasons at the top level. Though 2018-19 has been the more efficient of his two (mostly) full seasons in terms of points per game, it's amounted to just 13 points over 53 games. The Swede carries point-per-game marks in his brief time at the AHL level, so he has little to prove there. Considering his asking price may not be high now, Eriksson Ek may be worth a gamble in some dynasty formats. He will look to get back on the ice Friday to close out the season strong.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) will sit out Monday's tilt against Nashville, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Eriksson Ek hasn't suited up since March 11. While the bottom-six pivot owns only 13 points in 53 games, he's a useful depth piece for a Wild team that's trying to scratch and claw its way to the postseason, so his presence will be sorely missed by the team, if not by fantasy owners. His next chance to return will come Friday in Vegas.
News: Staal scored a power-play goal but was a minus-2 in Saturday's 5-1 loss to Carolina.
Impact: Staal was able to record his 21st goal of the campaign, and moved his point total to 50 in 75 games. The 34-year-old also logged 4:03 of power-play ice time and was a lone bright spot for the Wild. With his team making a push for the playoffs, it wouldn't be a surprise for Staal to shoulder a heavy workload as the season comes to a close.
News: Fehr has four points while averaging just 11:53 of ice time in his last 10 games.
Impact: Stuck on the fourth line for much of the season, Fehr has still been able to produce 15 points in 66 games. The 33-year-old has also added to his value on the defensive end, dishing out 35 hits and 43 blocks. With an average of just two seconds of power-play time this campaign, Fehr doesn't provide any legitimate fantasy value going forward.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) won't play in Saturday's game versus the Hurricanes, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports.
Impact: He's set to miss a sixth straight contest, and the team has struggled to a 2-3 record without his depth up the middle. Eriksson Ek's fantasy impact is negligible, however, with just 13 points in 53 games. He'll shift his focus to getting ready for Monday's game versus the Predators.
News: Kunin scored his sixth goal of the season in Friday's 2-1 win over the Capitals.
Impact: His third-period tally broke a 1-1 tie and gave Kunin his first career game-winning goal. The second-year center now has two points (a goal and an assist) in five games since returning to the lineup from a minor upper-body injury, as he tries to establish himself as a consistent producer in the NHL.
News: Donato notched two assists in Friday's 2-1 win over the Capitals.
Impact: He also chipped in three shots, a hit, a blocked shot and a plus-1 rating. Donato has been a feast-or-famine fantasy asset lately, recording four two-point performances and six goose eggs in the last 10 games, and the second-year forward now has an impressive four goals and 15 points in 15 games since joining the Wild and settling into a top-six role.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) isn't in the projected lineup for Friday's game against the Capitals, NHL.com's Harvey Valentine reports.
Impact: Eriksson Ek will miss a fifth straight contest Friday, and he remains without a clear-cut timetable for his return to the lineup. Either way, there's no reason for fantasy owners to keep tabs on his availability, as he's only picked up 13 points in 53 appearances this season. Another update on the 22-year-old forward's status should surface once he's cleared for game action.
News: Eriksson Ek (lower body) won't be available Tuesday against the Avalanche, Michael Russo of The Athletic reports.
Impact: Wild coach Bruce Boudreau told reporters that he'd hoped Eriksson Ek wouldn't miss more than a week, but it will be going on nine days since the Swede's last official update when the team travels to D.C. for Friday's game against the Capitals. The silver lining is that the third-year pivot doesn't have a big enough role when healthy for this development to affect too many fantasy owners. Eriksson Ek has compiled 13 points (six goals, seven assists) over 53 top-level games this season.
News: Staal notched a power-play assist in 24:49 of ice time in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Islanders.
Impact: The 34-year-old has gotten it going recently, racking up eight points in his last 10 games. Staal has seen some regression from last year's 70-point season, but has racked up 49 points in 72 games this campaign. Staal saw a season-high 8:23 of power-play time in the game, which suggests he'll be relied upon heavily as the Wild make a playoff push.