This is a guide to sports fans, weather you’re new to hockey or have been a fan for years, this will serve as a fan created guide to the Minnesota Wild and understanding the status of this team, without further delay, lets dive in!
First and foremost, it needs to be said, it can kind of hurt being a Wild fan or, for lack of a better phrase, being a fan of Minnesota sports in general but, besides the limited playoff success, this team can be extremely lovable and is on the right track to make a deep playoff run.
Now focusing more on the 2021-2022 season as explained in the title, one of the most major things that will be noticeable is the fact that the Minnesota Wild will be able to fill the Xcel Energy Center to capacity. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Wild weren’t able to have the team of 18,000 at the Xcel Energy Center until the very end. This season, the team will be backed by their deep, passionate fan base.
One of the first things that anyone would want to see is who the star is on this team, the simple answer? Look no further than last seasons Calder trophy winner: Kirill Kaprizov.
Kaprizov was a stud in the KHL who came over to the NHL only to show he was for real and the Wild rewarded him with a 5-year, $45 million deal, but however, Kaprizov himself doesn’t make up the entire team, Kevin Fiala is another budding star on this team who, even though is on another contract year, is out to show he is for real and get locked in for longer term just like Kaprizov.
One key factor to Kaprizov’s success was being paired with veteran forward Mats Zuccarello as the two had instant chemistry on the ice and the rest of the team was energized by it.
Joel Eriksson Ek, who ranked 4th in Selke trophy voting is back after re-signing with the Wild on an 8-year deal and as you may have guessed, he is expected to slot in as the 1C between Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. Much to the despise of many Wild fans, Victor Rask is back on the team this season, He’s the type of player that fans don’t want to play but yet the team is trying to squeeze every ounce they can out of the man. Other notable returners that we like to see are Nico Sturm and Nick Bjugstad. Forward Brandon Duhaime had an excellent training camp and ended up winning the final open roster spot. There were two roster spots open but due to the Minnesota Wild claiming Rem Pitlick off of waivers from Nashville, it cut the spots down to one.
Another new thing for the Wild this season will be they have two new alternate captains. When the Minnesota Wild bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, it created vacancy with the “A’s” and when training camp started, Captain Jared Spurgeon named Marcus Foligno and Matt Dumba as the new alternate captains. Foligno also known as ‘Moose’ is just an all around good guy, he plays mostly in the middle six and when need be will drop the gloves. Dumba is also such a great character guy and loves to be that voice in the locker room when he needs to be.
The next topic isn’t the greatest situation in the world but Bill Guerin and the Wild tried their best to rebuild the Wild’s defense after having severe turnover this off-season. Minnesota native Alex Goligoski signed a 1-year, $5 million deal this off-season to essential serve as a replacement to Ryan Suter but let that not discourage you. Goligoski has looked great in training camp and looks to have a lot left in the tank. Other new additions on defense include Jon Merrill, Dmitri Kulikov and Jordie Benn.
Last and not least, lets talk about the goalies. Cam Talbot was brought in before last season to take over as the number one goalie and he did just that. He ended up appearing in 33 games in the shortened season and was credited with winning 19 of them. Kaapo Kahkonen which some will say is in line to eventually be the teams number one goalie appeared in 24 games and was credited with 16 wins and only had one less loss than his counterpart with 8.
Okay, okay, this is the last point, the top prospects. Marco Rossi had a fantastic training camp considering he hadn’t played meaningful hockey in 18 months due to COVID-19 complications. He needs games and was recently announced to be assigned to the Iowa Wild in order to get that game time.
Adam Beckman tried his darndest to win that final job being the Wild’s leading scorer in the pre-season and even literally getting into a fight to show what he was made of, it is safe to think that Beckman would likely be recalled and see some NHL time this upcoming season. Matt Boldy was also having a great camp until he was injured in a pre-season game and will miss some time due to an ankle fracture.
*All stats found at NHL.com