Wild defenseman Erik Haula’s knee injury is worse than we thought

With his first NHL appearance on Thursday night in Winnipeg, Erik Hulak said he was confident he would be ready for the start of training camp.

But after he was carted off in the first period of the Wild’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, Hulaks injury became a more serious matter.

“I think it was just an adjustment to it and just trying to learn as much as I can and get back to a normal, normal life,” Hulaker said.

“I think I had a good recovery.”

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Wild as the Wild won 4-2 on a breakaway goal by Haulak.

The Wild had the lead when the puck was cleared from the zone and Haulaks shot off the post in the second period.

He was replaced by Jared Spurgeon.

Spurgeon got a goal in the third.

“He’s a good kid,” coach Bruce Boudreau said of Spurgeon after the game.

“He’s worked hard.

He’s played a lot of minutes.

He gets the puck out.

He plays a good game.

We know he’s going to have a great year.”

Spurgeon’s first goal of the season came with 5:15 remaining in the period, and Spurgeon had his first goal since Feb. 4 against the Anaheim Ducks.

Spurgeons shot an empty-net goal with 8:22 remaining in regulation.

It was his first assist of the year.

Hulak played just nine:33 before he was replaced on the ice by Spurgeon for a second time in the frame.

Spurlock was pulled after the final period.

The Wild did not make the playoffs for the second straight season.

The club finished in fourth place in the Central Division and has dropped three of the last four games.

Haulak, who had 12 goals and 25 points in 66 games, said the injury affected his skating.

“Obviously, it’s tough,” Haulas said.

“But I’m sure I’ll get better.

I’m just looking forward to coming back and playing with a different group of guys and hopefully getting a better understanding of what’s going on with my knee.”

Hulaks first career goal came in a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Nov. 6.

He scored the tying goal just seconds after a deflection by Jamie Benn with 5.1 seconds remaining.

He also had two assists and a plus-4 rating in that game.