Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Zucker could play on Minnesota Wild’s second line tonight as Dany Heatley struggles on defense


The Minnesota Wild have won three of their last four games, but head coach Mike Yeo isn’t satisfied with some things that he’s been seeing from several players. Dany Heatley in particular has been struggling in the neutral and defensive zones, and those lapses seem to have cost him his spot in Minnesota’s top-six for the time being.

Michael Russo of The Minnesota Star-Tribune reported that Yeo met with Heatley on Sunday to discuss his lack of defensive acumen. The coach spoke to Russo about that meeting and Minnesota’s defensive posture in general:

[It’s] not just him. I think our entire group, this was a focal point for our meeting before [practice]. We just can’t continue to turn pucks over in the neutral zone, we can’t continue to turn pucks over on the wall and expect to, No. 1, win games but to create offense, to get to the offensive zone, to draw penalties. All these areas where we’re lacking — the shots on goal, the chances, the drawing penalties — it’s all a direct result of the neutral-zone turnovers we’ve had lately. It’s a focus for everybody.

Taking Heatley’s spot on the second line will be the recently recalled Jason Zucker.

Zucker has zero points through six games played in the NHL this season, but has 12 points in 16 AHL contests.

Tags: Dany Heatley Minnesota Wild NHL