The Minnesota Wild are scoring in bunches so far this season, ranking third in the NHL in goals per game (3.82). Even though the Wild have spread the wealth quite admirably, there are still three players that have a good chance to reach the 30-goal plateau.
It’s a feat the Wild have yet to accomplish in their 20+-year history.
Ryan Hartman, Marcus Foligno, and Kirill Kaprizov are currently sitting at 18, 17, and 17 goals respectively, just 38 games into the 2021-22 season. With over half of the regular season remaining, lets take a look at all three and their chances of reaching this mark.
Arguably the most surprising of them all, Hartman is just one goal away from tying his old career high of 19 goals set in 2016-17 with the Chicago Blackhawks. Currently with 18 goals on the year, he has been experiencing incredible chemistry with his wingers Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello.
He also played with them for periods of time last season, but this time around the electricity those three have been able to generate seems to be getting more and more impressive by the game. Also on the first year of a 3-year contract that pays him an AAV of $1.7 million per season, Hartman is looking like one of the best bargains in the NHL this season.
After putting up career-best goal and point paces last year, Foligno has officially broken those goal and point totals this year.
Known for being the tough guy for most of his career, “Moose” has taken his game to new heights since Wild coach Dean Evason has taken over behind the bench, putting up a combined 28 goals and 53 points in the last two seasons (77 games).
His current point total of 27 has broken his previous career high of 26 set just last season and his 18 goals has already far surpassed his previous career high of 13 goals set back in 2016-17 with the Buffalo Sabres.
The least surprising of them all, of course, is Kaprizov.
“Kirill The Thrill” dazzled in his rookie year last season, putting up 27 goals in just 55 games. This season, the point per game pace he is on is even more impressive than his goal per game pace with a whopping 49 points in 37 games.
Currently with 17 goals, he is likely to surpass 30 goals and 85 points; something the Minnesota Wild have not seen much of from their best players over the years.
Some 20-goal scorers
The Wild also appear likely to have at least three 20-goal scorers in Mats Zuccarello (12), Joel Eriksson Ek (12) and Kevin Fiala (11). Zuccarello and Eriksson Ek have reached that mark just once in their careers, while Fiala has done so three previous times.
The New Wild
In the past, the Wild have been known as a team that defends very well but doesn’t display a ton of offensive firepower. This season, the Wild have combined their usual defensive excellence with a speedy, aggressive, offensive approach that has seen them become one of the league’s most dangerous scoring teams.
And there should be plenty more goals to come.