|Erik Haula has returned and should be back for a while. Photo: Jason Mowry/Icon SMI|
Today the team announced that they are sending Zucker back to Iowa and have recalled Erik Haula. This move was an exact swap of what they did on Monday/Tuesday when Haula was sent down and Zucker was recalled.
After the Haula was sent down, the team watched as Charlie Coyle continue his struggles at second line center. The team mustered all of two goals in the back to back games against Anaheim and San Jose. And Zucker never really got of Mike Yeo's doghouse as he played 12+ minutes in Anaheim then was scratched in San Jose.
So the question is, why was Haula ever sent down to begin with?
In six games with the Wild, Haula only notched two points (both assists) and was just getting fourth line minutes before getting sent down. It was rather surprising to see him get sent down before trying him out on the second line, since that was why they called up Zucker.
Its a small sample size, but Haula has performed well on the stat sheet in his six games this year. His 55.8 Fenwick For percentage would rank fourth on the team (behind Mike Rupp, Zach Parise, and Mikko Koivu). But again, small sample size and he was just performing well on the fourth line. It can all easily change when you get promoted to say, oh I don't know, second line center. His stats in the faceoff circle were far from great (10/32-31.3%), but the current second line center Charlie Coyle has not done well there either (62/160-38.8%)
The fact was, Haula should have been given the opportunity on the second line against Anaheim and San Jose. He had earned it. Every time he hits the ice, you notice him. You want that from a young kid. His big physical frame would have also come in handy, but the Wild opted for more speed in Zucker, which they only used for 12 out of the 120 minutes the team played in California.
It was a mistake to send Haula back down. It was quickly corrected today. Call me out on this if I'm wrong, but Haula is here to stay for a while (or until Mikael Granlund returns). He works hard in all three zones and has ample amounts of scoring chances while playing on a line with the likes of Mike Rupp, Zenon Konopka, and Dany Heatley.
Erik Haula is back. He will be here for a while. So sit back, Haula at your boys (yeah, not sorry) and tell them to take notice of the new second line center.
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell