Minnesota Wild

Team Summary

The Minnesota Wild are an NHL team playing in the Central Division based out of St. Paul, Minnesota. The Wild joined the league alongside the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000 after the previous franchise, the Minnesota North Stars, was moved to Dallas.

Though the Wild have not had much success overall, the Xcel Energy Center has almost always been one of the most filled arenas in the league with an extremely passionate fanbase.

The team has been more successful than their expansion brothers in Columbus but has only made it past the second round once in 2003. The Wild had the unfortunate experience of running into the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty during the 2010s, finding themselves eliminated from the postseason by their in-division rival for three straight years between 2013-2015.

The Wild have shifted from seemingly perpetual mediocrity to contenders with the arrival of superstar winger Kiril Kaprizov in 2020. Since his arrival, the Wild have placed in the top five for five-on-five scoring for two consecutive seasons and look poised to make a run in the playoffs.

Minnesota Wild Standings

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Team History

Minnesota North Stars owner Norm Green moved the team out of the state in 1993, taking hockey away from one of the biggest hockey markets in the country. The league moved fairly quickly to address the gap, making the arrangements for a new team to be established in Minnesota- at first, it seemed as though the state might receive an existing team from a smaller market that needed to be relocated, like the original Winnipeg Jets.

However, negotiations fell through due to Minnesota being unable to secure an arena, resulting in the jets moving to Arizona instead.

The NHL announced it would be expanding with several new franchises in 1997, including Minnesota as a destination. St. Paul quickly began to construct a brand new arena for the team, the Xcel Energy Center, completing it in time for the team’s inaugural season in 2000.

The Wild struggled for their first two seasons with sub .500 records but turned things around in 2003 with a record of 42-29-10-1. The team would make an unlikely push to the conference finals but were ultimately swept by the Anaheim Ducks. To this day, it remains the farthest the Wild have ever made it in the playoffs.

In 2012, the Wild signed free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to identical seven and $7.5 million by 13 years contracts, believing the signings would bring the Wild to contention for the cup. The Parise-Suter era certainly did change the Wild into perpetual playoff appearances. Still, the team would only win two series in eight playoff appearances, clearly outmatched by most teams in the postseason. Wild GM Bill Guerin announced a buyout of both contracts in the 2021 offseason, citing that the team needed a culture change and room for younger, new players on the roster.

Key Stats

The Minnesota Wild are currently sitting at fourth place in the extremely competitive Central Division with a record of 25-10-3. The team has played significantly fewer games than the other teams in the division. However, with so many key players now returning to the lineup, such as Joel Eriksson-Ek and Jonas Brodin, the Wild have a chance at shooting to the top of the Central in the coming weeks.

Kiril Kaprizov leads the team in scoring this year with 17 goals and 29 assists in 37 games. In only 92 games with the franchise, the winger is already 38th on the all-time scoring list for the Wild, with a high chance of moving even higher this week alone. The team hasn’t had superstar caliber players since Marion Gaborik in their first year, as shown by how easily Kaprizov has climbed the ranks.

Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman have seen improved numbers playing on Kaprizov’s line this season, with Zucerello scoring 38 points in 32 games and Hartman leading the team in goals at 18.

Minnesota has excellent depth overall, with all lines contributing to scoring- most notably, the third line of Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson-Ek, and Marcus Foligno has been dominant defensively all season, as all three players have used their large, physical play to control the puck.

Cam Talbot has been the main goalie this season, despite struggling with lingering injuries as of late. The goalie has a record of 16-8-1 and a save percentage of .910 this year.

Championships Won by the Team

The Minnesota Wild have never won a Stanley Cup in franchise history, with their deepest playoff run coming in 2003 with an appearance in the conference finals. The Wild have had some playoff woes throughout their young history, qualifying for the postseason 11 times but winning only four series in that span.

The team has been marred by first-round exits, always good enough to make the playoffs but lose instantly, missing out on high draft picks. Minnesota has only won their division on one occasion in 2008, losing in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche.

From 2013-2015, the Wild would run into the Chicago Blackhawks dynasty in the postseason. Minnesota would finish 2nd in the division in 2013 with a record of 42-28-10 but fell to the Hawks 4-1 in the first round.

The following two seasons saw back-to-back wildcard appearances from Minnesota, spoiling the Colorado Avalanche in a seven-game series in 2014 and upsetting the St. Louis Blues in 2015. However, the Wild once again ran into the Hawks both years, losing 402 in 2014 and swept in 2015.

Important Team Events

The Minnesota Wild have played spoiler to the Colorado Avalanche in two memorable playoff series, both involving Patrick Roy. The first occurred in 2003 in the first round, where the underdog Wild forced an unlikely game seven after going down 3-1 in the series.

The game went on to overtime in Colorado, with forward Andrew Brunette eventually finding a breakaway and scoring on Avs goaltender Patrick Roy. It would turn out to be Roy’s last game as a player, sending the Minnesota Wild to the next round.

In 2014, the Wild and the Avs met again in the playoffs. The division-winning Colorado team was coached by none other than Patrick Roy, who was looking to turn the Avs franchise around with their first playoff appearance in three years.

Once again, the series went into overtime of a game seven- this time, it was Wild forward Nino Niederreiter that ended Colorado’s season, scoring on goaltender Semyon Varlamov to send Minnesota into the next round.

Top Players

Mikko Koivu was the first long-term captain the Wild ever had in franchise history, playing with the team from 2001-2020. Koivu played a total of 1028 games with the Wild, setting a franchise record of points at 709 in the process.

The current leader for goals scored is Marion Gaborik, who was drafted third overall by the Wild as their first-ever draft pick in 2000. Gaborik played with the team from 2000 until 2009, scoring a total of 219 goals while in a Wild sweater.

Currently, Kiril Kaprizov is the first clear superstar the Wild have had since drafting Gaborik. Kaprizov joined the team in 2020, winning the Calder Trophy for top rookie in the league with 27 goals and 24 assists in 55 games played.

With the current roster of the team and Kaprizov’s continued excellent play this season, there is a high likelihood that Kaprizov could become the new face of the franchise.

Top Coaches

The Wild have only had six head coaches in franchise history, currently led by Dean Evason. Evason was originally the assistant coach under Brue Boudreau, who took over as interim coach after Boudreau’s departure in 2020.

Evason proved to be a passionate coach that instilled the culture GM Bill Guerin was looking for and was promoted to the full-time position shortly after. Evason has been excellent since taking over the position, currently sitting with a record 53-24-5.

The longest-tenured coach in franchise history is Jacque Lemaire, who led the team from 2000-2009. Lemaire coached for a total of 656 games, winning the Jack Adams award for the most impactful coach in his 2003 season.

This award was definitely earned, as Lemaire utilized the skills gained from his time with the New Jersey Devils to bring the Wild back from two 3-1 series deficits in the postseason against the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks. If you love sports and want more sports betting information follow us as @InsidersBetDig on Twitter and sign up to our mailing list for free betting picks.

Minnesota Wild FAQs

The Wild joined the league in 2000, seven years after the departure of the Minnesota North Stars.

Mikko Koivu played with the team from 2001-2020, serving as the first long-term captain and setting the franchise record for points.

The Wild have never won the Stanley Cup in franchise history.

Minnesota’s most recent playoff win was against the St. Louis Blues in 2015, upsetting the division winners in a 4-2 win.

Minnesota would likely consider the Chicago Blackhawks rivals due to the number of times they met up in the postseason during the 2010s, but the fact that the Wild were never really a threat to Chicago keeps this rivalry more one-sided. The Colorado Avalanche are more serious rivals, with shared playoff history and constant chippy matchups throughout the regular season.

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