Hockey

Minnesota Wild Season Preview

Photo: AP/Alex Gallardo. Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin, second from left, of Sweden, celebrates with defenseman Jared Spurgeon, left, center Nick Bjugstad, second from right, and left wing Kirill Kaprizov, right, of Russia, after scoring against the Los Angeles Kings during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles.

The 2021-2022 NHL Season is right around the corner, and Wild fans from all over the State of Hockey, are thrilled to see of what more this team can do. So we’re here to break it down for you. Let’s start with what moves, GM Bill Guerin did this summer, to improve the Minnesota Wild.

Offense

According to Daily Faceoff, these are the current Minnesota lines:

Line 1: LW: J. Greenway, C: J. Eriksson Ek, RW: M. Foligno

Line 2: LW: K. Kaprizov, C: V. Rask, RW: M. Zuccarello

Line 3: LW: M. Boldy, C: R. Hartman, RW: K. Fiala

Line 4: LW: N. Sturm, C: F. Gaudreau, RW: N. Bjugstad

The Offensive core for the Wild looks almost identical to last year’s, just with Bonino’s and Johansson’s Bottom 6 Depth absence at the Center spot, relived with the arrival of Gaudreau. Not only bringing in new players through free agency is a huge help for the Wild, but almost every forward on the roster can switch and play multiple positions. Minnesota should have no problem scoring goals, and creating lots and lots of scoring chances this year.

I know, I know… Theres one big name on this list that is probably raising your eyebrows… I’m sure you have all heard of his name by now, Kirill Kaprizov. As of now, The latest on Kaprizov’s contract status is still up in the air. But according to Michael Russo of the Athletic, who appeared on KFAN (Minnesota’s Sports Talk) earlier this week, the Wild and Kaprizov’s camp, are not close, yet very close, on reaching an agreement between both sides. Russo said, “They’re not close, but they’re very close. They’ve compromised on the term, they’re pretty much at five years, and I actually think the money is pretty close, in the ($9 Million) range. And now they’re sort of just working out the final agreement. Now, let’s break down the team’s defensive pairings, and how well it could do this season.

Defense

Projected Pairings:

LD: J. Brodin, RD: M. Dumba

LD: A. Goligoski, RD: J. Spurgeon

LD: D. Kulikov, RD: J. Merrill

This was really the only problem/issue facing the Wild’s roster this year. With the obvious departures of longtime veterans Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, The defensive unit was the one that got hit the hardest. Carson Soucy was also lost in Seattle’s Expansion Draft. So the Wild decided to bring in 2 more veterans in Kulikov and Merrill. Minnesota also brought in another Veteran presence to the Blue Line this year with Jordie Benn. He will most likely play the odd-man out role, and step up once someone gets hurt. Benn could also see some time in the AHL. The Defense has always been a touchy subject for Wild fans, and it will be put up to the test yet again, with some new faces this year on the blue line.

Goalies

Projected Rotation:

Starter: C. Talbot

Backup: K. Kahkonen

Last but certainly not least, the goaltending. The Wild’s Goalie situation is really hard to explain, it isn’t really a Starter/Backup role, nor a goalie tandem. It’s really whoever plays good gets to play, and whoever plays bad, gets to sit. As weird as it sounds, it happens a lot, but let’s just hope it finds a way to miraculously stop?

Review

In review, The Minnesota Wild are coming off a stellar season and will look to do more, than just to excel in the regular season, and then proceed to get knocked around come the playoffs. And they just might have the bits and pieces to do it. With a new D-Core, and a fairly similar O-Core the Wild could easily make some noise in a brand new 32-team National Hockey League.

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