Pontus Aberg skated at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday with the Ducks, but when he arrived at the rink Thursday, it was as a member of the Wild.
“I must’ve had a really good practice,” Aberg said.
Tucked into a Twin Cities hotel when he heard the news, the speedy winger didn’t have to travel far to join the Wild after the team acquired him Wednesday from Anaheim in exchange for Iowa Wild scoring leader Justin Kloos. Aberg made his Wild debut Thursday against his former team and logged 15:18 of ice time.
Added to boost the Wild’s offense, Aberg will be given a chance to flex his skill from the get-go by filling out a line with winger Zach Parise and center Charlie Coyle and getting a look on the power play.
“I ask all my players to be 200-foot players,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, who was briefed on Aberg by assistant Dean Evason and General Manager Paul Fenton — both of whom are familiar with Aberg from their time with the Predators, the team that drafted Aberg. “Hopefully he can buy into that scenario and when he gets the opportunity offensively do what he’s supposed to be able to do.”
Said Fenton: “I was looking for a right-shot forward that had scoring capability. … He has a dynamic set of skills that you’re always looking for.”
Through 37 games with Anaheim, Aberg had 11 goals, eight assists and 19 points — all career highs.
“This [the NHL] is where I want to be and this is where I belong,” said Aberg, who knows Jonas Brodin, Joel Eriksson Ek and new teammate Victor Rask from Sweden. “I’m going to try to keep on pushing.”
Although his goal output ranked tied for second on the Ducks, the 25-year-old was a healthy scratch the previous four games. He didn’t chat much with Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle during that time, Aberg said, but he sensed a change could happen — a fresh start he called “a perfect solution” for him.
“You don’t ever want to be out of the lineup,” he said. “I want to show them that they made a mistake. I’m happy to be here, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year here.”
Stalock starts, exits
Backup goalie Alex Stalock made back-to-back starts for the first time this season but did not get through the first period against the Ducks.
Stalock was replaced by Devan Dubnyk after giving up three goals on eight shots.
Stalock backstopped the Wild to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Kings on Tuesday, and Boudreau also wanted to rest Dubnyk while being mindful that Dubnyk hadn’t been on the ice much since Monday with no morning skate Tuesday and a day off Wednesday.
• Center Eric Fehr, who has been sidelined by a lower-body injury, hasn’t begun skating since he was hurt Jan. 7 against Montreal. “He’s probably not going to be back until after the [All-Star] break is my guess,” Boudreau said.
• Fenton said he had no time line update on defenseman Matt Dumba, who had surgery to repair a torn pectoral in December. A three-month recovery was forecast at the time of surgery.