The Minnesota Wild have eight regular season games left after Saturday before they officially punch their postseason ticket and secure final seeding for the playoffs. With five of the games on the schedule being games that they should win, the Wild have all but locked up entry to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In a little over two weeks the games begin. For the first time in team history the Wild have heavy (and realistic!) expectations entering the playoffs. It seems that the roster tweaks made at the trade deadline are what the Wild need to get over the hump (get out of the first round and make the first appearance in franchise history to the Stanley Cup Final).
I, like most Wild fans, have all of the confidence in the world in general manager Bill Guerin and truly believe that this team will make a deep postseason run.
I am ready to see this team in a seven-game series. I feel as impatient as Tom Brady in a Hertz commercial. Let’s go!
This year’s team is comprised of many players either putting up career-best numbers, just entering their prime, or finally living up to expectations. Teams that are in this position usually have that “special” feel to them. This team is special. They remind me of the 2007 Colorado Rockies baseball team.
There is no doubt that the Wild are feeling the pressure to deliver now and some players are expected to shoulder more of the responsibility than others. Each member of the team has a significant role and will be counted on to do their job if the Wild are going to advance out of the first round and make some noise.
Here are five players whose impact could determine the fate of the club as we enter the playoffs.