MONTREAL — Nick Seeler has gotten quite familiar with NHL press boxes the past couple of weeks. That’s what happens when you don’t play. As the Minnesota Wild have stumbled to a 1-5-0 start, Seeler has been relegated to watching from above as Carson Soucy has taken his minutes on the blue line.

“It’s been really difficult,” said Seeler, a 26-year-old from Eden Prairie, Minn. “I love to compete and help the team in any way I can, and when I’m not in it’s obviously hard to do that.”

After two weeks of waiting, Seeler was back in the lineup for Thursday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. It is his first time playing since the season opener against the Nashville Predators, and he was eager to prove his worth to coach Bruce Boudreau.

“Just compete and play simple,” said Seeler, who played one season with the Gophers, in 2015-16. “You don’t have to do too much out there.”

That’s the key to Seeler’s success.

He’s never going to be Ryan Suter or Matt Dumba, leading a rush up the ice, dancing on defenders in the neutral zone. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder makes his money by being hard to play against and bringing some added toughness when needed.

“Just stay composed and play my game,” Seeler said. “That’s what I’m looking to do.”

It should help that Seeler’s composure has been tested over the past two weeks. Instead of complaining about playing time, Seeler has made a point to stay after practice, working with assistant coach Bob Woods to make sure he’s ready the next time he got back in the lineup.

“Just trying to keep a positive attitude and be a good teammate,” Seeler said. “There’s ups and downs whenever (something like this) happens. It’s just a mental thing. It can be draining being out of the lineup for that many games. As long as you stay mentally strong and persevere and work through it and try to have a good attitude every day, I think that makes it easier.”

Stalock's style

Backup goaltender Alex Stalock got the nod for Thursday’s game, and while he always brings added flair with his willingness to play the puck, sometimes it gives Boudreau heart palpitations on the bench.

“I think he’s bored in the net,” Boudreau said, joking. “He just likes to play the puck all the time. He’s good at it and yet he scares me to death.”

As nerve-wracking as it might be, Boudreau noted that he would never tell Stalock to change his playing style.

“That’s in his blood,” the coach said. “If you tell him not to do it, that’s really taking away part of his game.”

Foligno's impact

Marcus Foligno leads the Wild with 24 hits this season, more than double Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon, who are tied for second on the team with 11 hits.

That physical style of play is something Wild might have to embrace even more considering they likely will be slower on the skates than most teams this season.

“We have to have it because we have to be able to slow teams down that are faster than us,” Boudreau said. “You’ve got to be able to skate with them or slow them down with hits, and Marcus has done a great job so far.”


After playing in the past two games, Victor Rask did not participate in Thursday’s morning skate. He is dealing with a lower-body injury, according to Boudreau, though the severity of the injury is unclear.