2019-20 Regular Season: 35-27-7 (.558%, 77 pts), 6th in Central Division
2019-20 Playoffs: 10th seed in Stanley Cup Qualifiers
The Minnesota Wild in their last 23 contests finished 15-7-1 before the league paused operations due to the concerns surrounding COVID-19, including a record of 8-4-0 in 12 games after Dean Evason replaced Bruce Boudreau as coach February 14. Minnesota has the opportunity to qualify for the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years after not being in the postseason last year.
Forward Kevin Fiala was on a hot streak before the season was paused, scoring 26 points (14G, 12A) in his final 18 games. Within that stretch, there were 10 multi-point contests. However, the team will need to have more players score other than Fiala (23 goals this season), Zach Parise (25 goals), and Eric Staal (19 goals), the only Wild players to register more than 15 goals this season, if the Wild are wanting to advance.
Player to Watch:
Forward Alex Galchenyuk. Galchenyuk had the fewest goals (eight) and points (24) this season, his eighth in the NHL. Galchenyuk would go on to have seven points (3G, 4A) in 14 contests after Minnesota traded for him from the Pittsburgh Penguins on February 10th. In the final three contests before the NHL paused its season, he had three points (1G, 2A). If Minnesota expects to be successful in the qualifier round, Galchenyuk, who is to be an unrestricted free agent upon the conclusion of the season, will need to be a big factor.
Starting goaltender. It seems as if there might be a competition for the starting goaltender job between Devan Dubnyk and Alex Stalock.
Dubnyk has started all 26 playoff contests for the Wild since being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on January 15, 2015. Dubnyk, 34, was 12-15-2 (3.35 GAA, .890 SV%) this season and his save percentage was the lowest among goaltenders who played at least 30 games. Dubnyk missed time in November and December while his wife had a medical issue.
Stalock would prove himself to be capable in Dubnyk’s absence. Stalock went 20-11-4 (2.67 GAA, .910 SV%) om 38 contests, and started in Minnesota’s seven of their last eight contests before the season was paused. 23-year-old Kaapo Kahkonen could also be in the mix for playing time. Kahkonen, a rookie, started in five contests for the Wild during the season.
Defenceman Carson Soucy should be healthy for camp after missing the final nine games of the season due to an upper-body injury.
Gerald Mayhew had 39 goals and 61 points in 49 games with the Iowa Wild and would be named the MVP of the American Hockey League. Mayhew, 27, scored twice in 13 games with Minnesota and could be great on offense, if Mayhew is given the chance.
Projected Minnesota Line-up:
Zach Parise — Eric Staal — Kevin Fiala
Alex Galchenyuk — Luke Kunin — Mats Zuccarello
Marcus Foligno — Joel Eriksson Ek — Jordan Greenway
Ryan Donato — Mikko Koivu — Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter — Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin — Matt Dumba
Brad Hunt — Carson Soucy