Wild's 'irreplaceable' defenseman returns to practice

Devan Dubnyk and Bruce Boudreau know how important it is to have Brodin back in the lineup.

Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin returned to practice on Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. Brodin has been out with a broken finger and hasn't played since Jan. 17.

Although he's back at practice, Brodin doesn't feel 100 percent yet but he told Wild.com that it felt good to be back at practice.

The Wild have posted an 8-3-1 record since Brodin went down, but goaltender Devan Dubnyk mentioned how important it is to have the steady blue liner back in the lineup.

"We've noticed a big gap, not to take anything away from the guys that are filling in for him," Dubnyk said at practice on Saturday.

"He's pretty irreplaceable for us. He does a lot of things that go unnoticed, he plays a lot of minutes; he's brought a good offensive side to his game this year. We've missed him a lot."

"He's definitely missed," head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "You worry sometimes when he's out, that you're putting too much pressure on Suter and Spurgeon."

Boudreau has a point, Spurgeon is averaging two more minutes per game since Brodin's injury and Suter was out on the ice for over 30 minutes in Friday's win over the Lightning.

Which is three more minutes than he averages this season.

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