Last Season Head to Head: Split 2-2
The Minnesota Wild had an exciting season in 2021-22, finishing second in the Central Division with a 53-22-7 record. That being said, they were upset by the St. Louis Blues in the first round, losing in six games. Despite the sudden end to the season, there were many positives to take from the year. Ryan Hartman broke out for 65 points, blasting past his career high of 31 points. With his production, the Wild appear to have solidified an already solid group down the middle. Combine Hartman with Eriksson Ek, then you’re looking at a pretty good 1-2 punch.
On the wings, the Wild thrived with Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, and Kevin Fiala. Kaprizov recorded 47 goals and 108 points on the season, while Fiala also tallied 33 goals and 85 points. Zuccarello, a long-time NHLer, set a new career high in points at 79.
Among the moves the Wild made in the offseason, perhaps none were as notable as the departure of Kevin Fiala. Fiala was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for defensive prospect Brock Faber and a first-round pick. The trade market remained hot for the Wild, as they also dealt goaltender Cam Talbot to Ottawa in exchange for another goalie, Filip Gustavsson. The Wild hope that the 24-year-old Gustavsson will benefit from more games played. With Marc-Andre Fleury getting near the end of his career, they need to give him all the rest he needs in order to positively impact the team.
It isn’t necessarily an addition, but Marco Rossi was cleared for action and will most certainly be in play for a roster spot. Rossi was out for an extended period after a battle with COVID-19 that resulted in him being diagnosed with myocarditis, a condition that causes the inflammation of the heart. The condition kept him out for nearly a full year and certainly hindered his development. Now, after spending last season in the AHL, Rossi looks to crack the roster and become the impact player he was drafted to be.
Kirill Kaprizov – Ryan Hartman – Mats Zuccarello
Matthew Boldy – Marco Rossi – Tyson Jost
Marcus Foligno – Joel Eriksson Ek – Jordan Greenway
Connor Dewar – Frederick Gaudreau – Brandon Duhaime
Jonas Brodin – Matthew Dumba
Jacob Middleton – Jared Spurgeon
Alex Goligoski – Calen Addison
Strengths and Weaknesses
The Wild have always had strength on the back-end, and that remains the case going into 2022-23. An X-factor will be the play of Calen Addison, as he will likely get further chances to gain ice time. Addison, 22, played 15 games with the wild last season, recording four points. His AHL time, however, implies he has more to give. In his 74 total games with the Iowa Wild, he tallied 43 points.
As it has been in the past, the weakness could be the forward core. With the departure of Fiala, can other players step up to fill the void? Outside of the top six, the Wild struggled to provide offense last season.