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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Minnesota Wild

One of the most consistent teams over the last 5 years.

Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Twenty-Third up are the Minnesota Wild who are in their 18th season in the NHL. They have made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons but have not advanced past the first round any of the last three years (losing to the Jets, Stars and Sharks).

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 14th
Goals for Rank: 11th
Goals against Rank: 12rd
PP Rank: 17th
PK Rank: 13th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 8th
Western Conference Standings: 5th
Central Division Standings: 3rd
Coach: Bruce Boudreau (94-51-19 regular season with Minnesota; 2-8 playoffs)
(845-503-243-99 regular season all coaching positions; 43-47 playoffs)

Minnesota Wild v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Overview:

The Wild did not make the playoffs for four consecutive years from 2008 – 2012 prior to the last six seasons where they made it each year. For anyone keeping track that is tied for the 2nd longest streak along with the Anaheim Ducks (Pittsburgh is first with 12 consecutive seasons). Perhaps it’s a coincidence that this started the same season they got Zach Parise from the New Jersey Devils. Last year had a fun dynamic with Parise, Eric Staal and Jason Zucker who were a formidable top lines as Eric Staal hit a fountain of youth scoring 42 goals at the age of 33. Their second line of Nino Niederreiter, Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund features three players who are underrated by many. Joel Eriksson Ek is on the upswing as is Jordan Greenway who was the 20th overall pick in the 2015 draft. To me, while their offense is good, most of their power comes from the back forward. Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon are a top 7 defensive unit. Mathew Dumba and Jonas Brodin top out a solid 2ndunit. Devan Dubnyk took a step back with a still respectable 2.52 GAA and .918 sv % (16th in both categories) which says something. He came off a 2.25 GAA and .923 sv % year. Bruce Boudreau is among the best regular season coaches of all time and I’m not making this up. He’s 24thamong coaches in all time regular season wins. He has coached fewer games than anyone in the top 30. Bruce Boudreau will keep this team in playoff contention and the defense as well as Devan will hold down the defensive end, offense is the only (minor) question I have here.

Major Additions:

Matt Read, JT Brown,

Major Subtractions:

Zach Mitchell, T yler Ennis, Matt Cullen

Prospects and Picks:

-Mason Shaw. Taken 97th overall in the 2017 draft, Mason was limited a bit last year due to a nasty ACL knee injury. His record going into his draft year was solid, he put up 94 points in 71 games the previous season in the WHL with the Medicin Hat Tigers. It’s likely he will need some time in the AHL to build up confidence and play again but it would not surprise if he made his way into the lineup later this year as injuries occur.

-Luke Kunin. The 15th overall pick in the 2016 draft already has two seasons of AHL under his belt most recently putting up 19 points in 34 games with the Iowa Wild before a chance with the Minnesota Wild where he put up 4 points in 19 games. He is a heads up player who finds open players and hits them in stride, he is still building up a bit and working on getting his legs stronger and faster. No reason why he can’t be a solid third liner for the team.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Devan Dubnyk. I see rankings with him outside the top 10 which is laughable to me. He has been among the most durable, most consistent goalies over the last three years. He’s played over 60 games with at least 30 wins, a sub 2.55 GAA and a SV % north of .915 and 5 shutouts. That is a great line to hold but he’s not super flashy like the Carey Prices or Henrik Lundqvists so he gets relegated down the standings. Don’t fall for it, there is minimal risk with him with a good payout if you are able to grab him in the 5-10 goalie area.

Cap Situation:

$65MM Spent; $10M in Cap room; 17 players signed; average team age 28.

Poll

Will Minnesota have a 35 goal scorer this year?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Yes
    (11 votes)
  • 26%
    No
    (4 votes)
15 votes total Vote Now