Our Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 notes that this team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six years. This Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 observes that the Wild finished 37-36-9, which placed them last in the Central Division. The team did have an eventful off season, making major changes such as firing their GM after a single season at the helm. Our 2019 – 2020 Minnesota Wild season preview looks at whether the change in leadership can lead to a postseason return. In the past, at times, such moves have resulted in positive results.
Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020: Goaltending
Devan Dubnyk put together another solid season last year. He Played in 67 games while recording a 2.54 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Our Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 finds that Dubnyk is a true number one goaltender with the ability to stay consistent while playing a large number of games. During his tenure in Minnesota, he has been a very reliable starter and should be expected to have another solid season.
Dubnyk’s backup will be Alex Stalock. Although Stalock only played in 21 games, the netminder had a down year. He finished with a 2.99 GAA and .899 save percentage. While he likely won’t need to play a massive number of games to ease the workload on Dubnyk, the Wild would love a better season out of the St. Paul native.
Minnesota’s forward group features a mix of veterans in decline and some youth with high potential. Eric Staal and Zach Parise were the Wild’s top scoring forwards last season. At the ages of 34 and 35 respectively, they project as top six forwards once again this season. Parise finished last season with 28 goals and 33 assists in 74 games. Staal had 52 points on the year. They also return Mikko Koivu who enters his 15th NHL season at the age of 36. When healthy, Koivu provided decent secondary scoring last year. He was limited to just 48 games after undergoing knee surgery in February. Along with these veterans, Jason Zucker will help form the core of the Wild. Zucker had 21 goals and 21 assists in 81 games last season. He is just one year removed from a 33-goal season and will be a primary scorer for the team.
Our Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 judges that Minnesota’s biggest offseason acquisition is Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello started the 2018-2019 season as a New York Ranger but was dealt at the trade deadline to Dallas. He had a solid season despite being limited to 48 games. Zuccarello finished with 40 points during the regular season. He was able to return for the playoffs where he posted 11 points in the Stars’ 13 games. If he can stay healthy, Zuccarello’s addition will give the Wild a boost this year.
The Wild have plenty of young forwards who could have breakout seasons. Luke Kunin and Jordan Greenway are coming off of solid rookie seasons. Kunin played 49 NHL games along with 28 AHL games. He had 17 points in the NHL while registering 20 in the AHL. Greenway spent the entirety of last season in Minnesota. He played in 81 games and posted 12 goals along with 12 assists. The Wild also feature 23-year-olds Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala. Both were acquired via trades. Donato played 34 games with Boston before going to Minnesota where he played 22 games. He saw increased usage as a Wild and enjoyed a jump production. In Boston, Donato had nine points compared to 16 after the trade. Fiala saw his production dip after his trade. He recorded 31 points in 64 games with Nashville compared to seven points in 19 games with the Wild.
Preview – Defense
The Wild’s biggest strength is their blueline. Last season they had four defenseman who played over 20-minutes per game. Ryan Suter led the team playing 26:42 minutes a night. He also topped the team’s defensemen with 47 points. Jared Spurgeon was second in both categories. He saw 24:09 minutes per game while putting up 43 points. He also finished with 14 goals from the backend. Matt Dumba was very good while healthy. The 25-year-old blueliner missed the last 50 games of the season but had 22 points in the 32 games he played. The last defender to play over 20 minutes per game was Jonas Brodin. He suited up for all 82 games while putting up 18 points. Our Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 concludes that overall the top-four defenseman on Minnesota are better than average and form the backbone of this Wild roster.
Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020: Outlook
Minnesota improved upfront by signing Mats Zuccarello. He will help an offense which struggled last season. Our Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020 finds that they also have a solid nucleus of defensemen as well as solid goaltending. Despite this, the Wild look to be an aging team in a youthful league. They will need their young forwards in Ryan Donato, Jordan Greenway, and Luke Kunin to step up and have big years if Minnesota is going to have a solid season. Overall there is too much uncertainty in regards to the club’s offense to list them as a playoff contender. Look for the Wild to miss the postseason for a second straight year.
Minnesota Wild Preview 2019 – 2020: Projection
Record: 34-36-12, 80 points
Finish: 7th in the Central Division
NHL 2019 Preview Link