For the first time during the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter era the Minnesota Wild missed out on the playoffs last season. The run of six straight playoff appearances came to a crashing halt. It was a season that saw then general manger, Paul Fenton trade core pieces like Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund. Fenton was recently fired after lasting a whopping 14 months on the job.
Even with all the mayhem surrounding the team this offseason, the Wild still have an experienced core mixed with some tantalizing young talent. That mix could lead to a surprising playoff berth for the Wild. Let’s take a look at five reasons why the Wild may make the postseason this season.
If the Wild are going to get back to the postseason they will need a few of their young players to have breakout seasons. Not all of Fenton’s moves were terrible this season as two of the trades brought back
Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala
. When thinking about players that are in store for a breakout season for the Wild, Donato and Fiala top the list. In 22 games with the Wild, Donato finished with 16 points. He scored four goals, recorded 12 assists and had 64 shots on goal. Fiala was more up and down, with more downs, but he flashed at certain points last year that lead one to believe that he could be in store for more this season. In those 19 games with the Wild, Fiala finished with seven points, scoring three goals and recording four assists. His best game came against his former team in Nashville. In his first game in Nashville as a member of the Wild, Fiala scored two goals.
No, the Wild don’t have any marquee names, but they do have a duo in Parise and Suter that still produce at a high level. Despite missing the playoffs, Parise had one of his finest seasons as a member of the Wild last season. He led the team in goals (28) and points (61). Suter finished the season with 40 assists and 47 points, even though he got off to a slow start after coming off the ankle injury he suffered at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Parise could be in store for a big season playing alongside the playmaking Zuccarello. Suter won’t be coming off a major injury and could be more in line with the numbers he put up during the 2017-2018 season when he posted a career-high in assists (45).