The Minnesota Wild have always been a team known to struggle for consistent points production. This season, they are relying the their star defenders to support the forwards in scoring.
Fourteen games into the NHL season, the Minnesota Wild can boast about having 3 of the best defensemen in the game. Not to mention the other 3 in their starting lineup are no slouches.
Suter leads the way for the Minnesota Wild, currently tied with Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund for the team lead in points at 13. His 3 goals include one on the power play, one on the penalty kill, and one even strength that stood up as a Game Winner.
He has 4 power play points, 2 shorthanded points, and is still averaging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game. His broken ankle from last season is a distant memory, and appears to have reinvigorated the aging Suter who is playing some of the best hockey of his professional career early this season.
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Jared Spurgeon has quietly been an offensive threat for the Minnesota Wild for the better part of 9 seasons now, and really is one of the most underrated players in the entire National Hockey League.
His 8 points this season are tied for 19th among all NHL defensemen, and have Spurgeon on pace for possibly the best season of his career. His 3 goals have all come at even strength, and always seem to be at a time when the team needs a jump.
What makes Spurgeon’s success this season even more impressive, is when you consider that he and partner Jonas Brodin are often tasked with matching up against opposing top lines. To not only shutdown Nathan MacKinnon but also put up points against him is a credit to Spurgeon’s shutdown capability.
Matt Dumba is tied with Spurgeon at 8 points so far, but has his in the form of 5 goals. This has Dumba tied with Parise and Eric Staal, only 1 goal behind Granlund for the team lead. His new contract throughout the summer was heavily scrutinized, but he is earning his paycheck through the first quarter of this season.
Dumba was given a much larger role this year to go with his large contract, and his pairing alongside Suter has the young defender thriving. His time on ice is nearing equal to that of Suter, and his goal scoring timing rivals Spurgeon for coming through in the clutch.
Fans have started referring to the 24-year-old as “DumBomb” for his rocket shot, and the name should start to stick if he keeps up at this rate. His defensive errors are still there, but have been greatly reduced from years past. With him playing as well as he has been, though, fans can be very forgiving of the defensive gaffes.
If we tack on the 3 point night for Nick Seeler against St.Louis (including the Game-winning goal), and Jonas Brodin with his 2 goals both coming as Game-winners, we are looking at possibly the best defensive 6 the Minnesota Wild have possibly ever had lace up the skates.
The forwards need to start finding the puck and getting some points as well, but as long as the Minnesota Wild defense continue to put the puck in the net this team will be able to continue racking up the wins.