ST. PAUL - The Wild on Friday, Oct. 13, placed forward Charlie Coyle on long-term injured reserve after he underwent surgery to repair a broken leg, the team announced. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
In addition, Nino Niederreiter will miss at least three weeks due to a high ankle sprain, and Marcus Foligno has been scheduled for a medical procedure because of a left facial fracture suffered during a fight in Thursday night's 5-2 victory at Chicago. He is expected to miss at least a week, the team said in a release.
That leaves the Wild with only nine healthy forwards on the eve of their home-opener against the Chicago Blue Jackets, but Coyle's placement on LTIR will give the Wild salary cap space for more call-ups Saturday morning.
Their first addition to the depleted roster came Thursday morning when they added top prospect Luke Kunin and sent down defenseman Mike Reilly.
Because the Wild felt Reilly was playing well, they had been hesitant to demote him to the minors even though he was the only waiver-exempt defenseman. But with five injured forwards, they no longer had the roster space to afford to keep him around.
They were already cap-strapped too, a mere $206,000 from the $76 million ceiling, part of why they needed to place a forward on long-term injured reserve, which will free up space for Saturday's likely additions. As a result, though, Coyle must sit out at least 10 games or 24 days.
Neither coach Bruce Boudreau nor general manager Chuck Fletcher attended Friday's optional practice and were not available for comment.
If the Wild play with fewer than the standard 18 skaters Saturday night, they would receive salary cap flexibility from the league for their next game, which isn't until the following Friday.
Coyle suffered a right fibula fracture when he was hit by a shot from teammate Jared Spurgeon. The Wild said he underwent successful surgery by Dr. Fernando Peña at TRIA Orthopaedic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
Niederreiter suffered a high ankle sprain after an opponent fell on him Thursday, and Foligno was hurt during a fight with John Hayden.
Meanwhile, Mikael Granlund remains out, likely to miss at least three more games because of a groin injury, while Zach Parise may be nearest to a return after practicing on Friday. He's aiming to make his season debut next Friday at Winnipeg, but didn't he rule out playing Saturday.
"I don't know if things changed after (Thursday) night," he said.
All of the injuries provide ample opportunity for young players to make an immediate impact to the Wild just three games into the season.
Kunin, 19, played in two minor-league games with Iowa this season, totaling a goal and an assist. He nearly made the Wild out of training camp in his first full pro season after spending two years at the University of Wisconsin.
But even with Kunin, the Wild are left only with nine healthy forwards - and they are meaningful absences. Thanks to the injuries, the Wild are without four of their top seven scorers from last season.
The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.