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Mason Shaw was in his happy place Friday morning, skating with the Wild during their practice at Tria Rink and preparing to get into a game at Xcel Energy sometime in the near future.

"It feels like Christmas morning," the forward said.

If there's a gift for Shaw's hockey Christmas, he's certainly earned it. Last April 1 against the Vegas Golden Knights, Shaw tore his right anterior cruciate knee ligament while crashing awkwardly into the boards. It was the fourth — yes, fourth — torn ACL of his career, and with it came the long, arduous task of rehabbing the joint after surgery.

More than 10 months later — after a nine-game stint with Iowa of the AHL — the Wild on Thursday signed Shaw to a two-way contract for the remainder of the 2023-24 season.

"I'm just thrilled and relieved," Shaw said. "… Things have gone really good here lately, and when I'm called upon, I'll try to help out."

Shaw won't play in Saturday's game against the Buffalo Sabres, but Wild coach John Hynes sees an opportunity for him to crack the lineup in the near future.

"It'll be day by day," Hynes said of Shaw's status. "There's a couple forwards that need to be better. I've really liked [Connor] Dewar, [Jacob] Lucchini and [Vinni] Lettieri; that line's been really good. There's more and more competition now. Guys have stepped up their game."

When healthy, Shaw, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick, brings an energetic, two-way game. He had seven goals and 10 assists in 59 games for the Wild last season, and his work on the penalty kill helped the team rank 10th in the league at 82%. This season, the Wild are 28th on the penalty kill at 74%.

During his Iowa stint that started on Jan. 20, Shaw went three games without scoring before collecting three goals in his next two games. He finished with four goals and three assists before the Wild called.

"My first couple games weren't great; I'll be the first to admit that," he said. "But as it went along and each game got a little better, my confidence grew. I feel like my game's in a good spot right now."

Shaw's injury history includes torn left ACLs during the 2014-15 season and in 2019. The first tear of his right ACL came in the 2017-18 season. That's roughly 3½ years worth of rehab time — and the patience it requires.

"I didn't know what to expect," Shaw said. "I didn't know how the knee would respond to games or how my game would go. Nothing was guaranteed. I had to go and earn my chance to get back here. Everyone in the organization kept their word, and now it's my turn to do my part and get back on the ice."

Chisholm to make Wild debut

Defenseman Declan Chisholm, claimed off waivers from Winnipeg on Jan. 29, will make his Wild debut against Buffalo. The 24-year-old played two games for the Jets this season and six for the AHL's Manitoba Moose. He last saw action on Dec. 4 for the Jets vs. Carolina.

"I'm excited," Chisholm said when told by reporters that Hynes said he was in the lineup. "… You're eager to get out there, but it's necessary to know the systems because they were a little different than Winnipeg's."

Hynes sees Chisholm as a player who can help with a net-front presence and work in the defensive zone corners by making himself hard to play against.

"He's a good-skating defenseman and moves the puck well. … He's a big, strong kid," Hynes said of the 6-1, 190-pounder who was a fifth-round draft pick of Winnipeg in 2018.