I’ve always wondered why Minnesota named their team the “Wild” ever since they re-entered the league in 2000. Well, I looked it up.
Apparently, it was chosen as an ode to Minnesota’s wildlife and outdoors reputation. Oh.
Other names that were in the running were: Northern Lights, Freeze, Blue Ox, Voyageurs, and White Bears.
Those are all terrible, but I wouldn’t mind Voyageurs.
I just feel sorry for the players. When you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, you say you’re a Leaf, or a Maple Leaf.
When you play for the Minnesota Wild, what do you say? “I’m wild”?
Mikko Koivu – The younger brother of Saku, Mikko is the captain of the team and has been a presence in the Wild lineup since 2005-06. He’s a great passer and will fall anywhere between 50-60 points each season while centring the second line.
Eric Staal – He left Carolina two years ago and looked like his career was on the decline. He went to the Rangers and struggled. Then he found himself in Minnesota last year and scored 28 goals to go along with 37 assists (65 points) – his best point total since 2012.
Jason Zucker – The 25-year-old had a breakout season last year when he scored 22 times and put up 47 points. He’s off to a point-per-game pace this season, perhaps he could be in for another career-high.
Notable – Mikael Granlund, Joel Eriksson Ek, Zach Parise
Ryan Suter – He’s a good defenseman, but it’s always confused me at how few hits he throws each season. That’s why I never draft him in fantasy hockey.
Mathew Dumba – That’s a fun last name, isn’t it? He reminds me of Justin Faulk in Carolina. Has the tools to be a 40-point guy who anchors a power-play.
Jared Spurgeon – He is listed as being 5’9, 168 lbs., so you know he’s officially smaller than that. He’s a slippery player with the puck, which makes him good at clearing his own zone.
Notable – Jonas Brodin
Devan Dubnyk – I still can’t believe he’s turned into a top 10 goalie in the NHL, after how poorly his career started in Edmonton, Nashville, and Arizona. Good for him for turning it around. He is a big reason why the Wild allowed the 7th fewest amount of goals last season.
Alex Stalock – Quality backup. I’d be a bit worried though if Dubnyk were to get injured and they had to ride Stalock for a long stretch, but I guess all teams share that fear.
1. The Wild scored 266 goals last season – second most in the NHL.
2. Bruce Boudreau is the Head Coach. I think he’s fantastic. Getting far in the playoffs is another conversation, though. He’s only made it out of the second round once, in 9 playoff appearances. He’s been coaching in the NHL for 10 seasons.
3. The Wild finished 2nd in the West last season with 49 wins. Dubnyk had 40 of them. It was the best season in franchise history.
4. They lost in the first round to St. Louis, 4-1.
5. They’ve made the playoffs in 8 of their 16 seasons. That’s pretty good compared to the teams that came into the league around the same time as them.
WHAT CHRIS THINKS
Minnesota feels like the new San Jose Sharks, they are good enough to compete and go 2 or 3 rounds in the playoffs, but I don’t think they an go all the way.
LAST MINUTE OF PLAY
It surprised me that the Wild scored so many goals last season. I’ve always seen them as a team without a true superstar forward. They still don’t have one, but they have a lot of talented players who fill their roles nicely.
Collectively, they make a very good team. They have a solid defensive core and a reliable goaltender. Combine that with a Head Coach who knows how to make the playoffs, and you’re looking at a team that should be in the post-season for years to come.
Will they ever be a serious Cup contender and not just a very good regular season team? I don’t know. I think they need more high-end talent before I believe that.
ONE “MINNESOTA” WILD PREDICTION
Eric Staal scores 30 goals this season for the first time since the 2010-11 season.