When the season started, I can guarantee no one expected Minnesota to be this good. The Wild are the third team in the NHL to officially secure a playoff spot. The other two teams happen to be in their division ahead of them in the standings. Those teams are the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche. The Minnesota Wild have been one of the best stories to come out of the NHL this season. Not only have they already secured a playoff spot, but they are also still contending for the number one seed in the division.
Most people keep trying to figure out how the Wild have become so successful this season. There have been a lot of key factors to the success of the Minnesota Wild so far. If they continue to play the way they are playing, this team will continue to have success come playoff time. The only problem is they will have to play either the Vegas Golden Knights or the Colorado Avalanche in the first round.
Rookies Leading the Way
The hype around rookie Kirill Kaprizov has not been a bust this season. The rookie phenom from Russia has been everything as advertised and more. Kaprizov leads all rookies in the entire league and goals and points. He currently sits with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points. That is insane for a rookie. People can complain all they want that he is 24 years old and that he shouldn’t be considered a rookie, but who cares. It is his first year in the NHL and he is ripping apart the competition and it is amazing to watch.
Another rookie who may have gotten lost in the Karprizov hype is Kaapo Kahkonen. The rookie goaltender has been fantastic for the Wild all season long. In 21 games this season, Kahkonen has posted a 14-7-0 record. The tandem of him and Cam Talbot have done wonders for this Minnesota Wild team this season. He has also posted a 2.68 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The 24-year-old has given Wild fans a good feeling about the future of goaltending for this team.
— x – Sound the Foghorn Podcast 🚨 (@SoundTheFoghorn) April 24, 2021
There are three players that the wild brought in over the offseason to help solidify the offense. Those players are Marcus Johansson from Buffalo, Nick Bonino from Nashville, and Nick Bjugstad from Pittsburgh. All players have contributed to the Wild’s success this season. Johansson has managed to put up six goals and eight assists in 29 games played. Bonino has managed to put up seven goals and thirteen assists in 46 games played. Bjugstad has put home six goals and nine assists in 37 games played.
While the numbers aren’t too flashy from each player, that is at least six goals from each player. Since coming to the Wild, each player has seemed to gain confidence in their games. This is huge for the Wild. Secondary scoring is key in this league and the Wild seem to have found that scoring touch this season.
It is such a shame one of these guys probably going to Seattle in the expansion draft this summer. The Wild defense might be near the top of the league in terms of talent-wise. The acquisition of Ian Cole mid-season from Colorado has helped solidify an already stacked defense. Jared Spurgeon is in his first season as captain of this team. He has been fantastic this season for the Wild.
The rest of the defense has been remarkable all season long. Ryan Suter is still logging in a ton of minutes for this team. Jonas Brodin is still playing some great hockey at both ends. Matt Dumba might be the odd man out when it comes to protecting players from Seattle. He is a fantastic offensive defenseman. With the core they have right now, this team can stick with anyone in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see it all unfold this season.
If you want clutch, look no further than Matt Dumba. pic.twitter.com/mhbAbVTIZu
— NHL (@NHL) February 28, 2021
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