MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) -- Gopher Hockey alum Seth Helgeson has been recalled by the New Jersey Devils and will make his NHL debut tonight against the Minnesota Wild.
Tonight's game is set for a 6 p.m. (TV: FOX Sports North, Radio: KFAN) at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
"He's got fresh legs, which is good coming in," coach Pete DeBoer said. "We were young prior to him coming in, so it's nothing we haven't dealt with this year. I'm excited to see him. He had a great training camp and he deserved to be the guy called up here."
Helgeson is a physical presence.
"Not exactly the way you want to inject energy, but we'll take it and hopefully he'll come in and give us a good game," DeBoer said.
"He's a big guy. Physical. Long stick. We don't have a lot of that, physical defensemen, back there. With Sal, who is that type of defenseman, going out, it's nice to have a guy in the minors that plays a similar type game."
A Faribault, Minn., native, Helgeson was a four-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota and served as an alternate captain as the team's lone senior in 2012-13. The defenseman skated in 150 career games for the Gophers and amassed 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists). He also proved to be incredibly durable despite his physical play -- ending his college career with 122-straight appearances including every game of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
In his final two campaigns with the program, the Gophers earned two-straight MacNaughton Cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions as well as two NCAA tournament berths including the team's run to the Frozen Four in 2011-12.
Helgeson signed with the Albany Devils following his senior season and played four games for New Jersey's AHL affiliate that year. He added 10 points (one goal, nine assists) and 100 penalty minutes in 75 regular-season games during the 2013-14 campaign and also played in four playoff games for Albany. So far in 2014-15, Helgeson has played in 12 games with one assist and 11 penalty minutes.
With Helgeson expected to play tonight, we'll have a contest between two former teammates as well as four Gopher Hockey alums on the ice at Prudential Center. Helgeson and Wild forward Erik Haula played together for three seasons at Minnesota while Thomas Vanek and Keith Ballard will both be in the Wild lineup as well.
Gopher Hockey now boasts 14 alums in the NHL this season: Keith Ballard (Minnesota Wild), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers), Alex Goligoski (Dallas Stars), Erik Haula (Minnesota Wild), Seth Helgeson (New Jersey Devils), Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche), Phil Kessel (Toronto Maple Leafs), Nick Leddy (New York Islanders), Jordan Leopold (St. Louis Blues), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh Penguins), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders), Nate Schmidt (Washington Capitals), Thomas Vanek (Minnesota Wild) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets).