Could it be… Is this really the Year of the Wilderness?this Minnesota wilderness?
A franchise that has been mediocre since its establishment in 2000? This organization embodies the confused middle-where you are good enough not to get the best odds in the first pick in the NHL draft, but you are also bad enough that you are often eliminated from the playoffs. In the NHL? The Minnesota wild team?
The Wild has a really strong start to the season. They have won five of the first six games and scored six victories in the last eight games. They are currently tied with Winnipeg for the top spot in the Central Division with a record of 11-6-0. Minnesota has the fifth-best offense in the league, averaging 3.47 goals. The wild head coach Dean Evason rode veteran goalkeeper Cam Talbot. He played 14 games and scored 9-5-0 in that time. The results. If they are lucky enough to use overtime or penalty kick losses to make up for these four regular season losses, and give them one or two points, then Minnesota’s lead in Central will be even greater.
This is where you can see the possibility that Wild may not be able to race at the current pace for most of the season. On the one hand, Talbot may have achieved good numbers at a few points in his career, but the 34-year-old has been rebounding from the five NHL teams for a reason: he has always Not being able to play has always been good. Indeed, Talbot’s Wild and previous Calgary Flame both had good data last season. But in the 2018-19 season, his save rate was 0.887.
If Talbot falters, Wild does not have a verified pre-net performer to stop any bleeding. His current substitute is Kaapo Kähkönen, a 25-year-old Finn with only 32 NHL game experience. According to data from CapFriendly.com, the Wild team has about $2.9 million in salary space to address any goalkeeper deficiencies, but few goalkeepers are both above average and trade with their current team. Help beyond Kähkönen will be a wing and a prayer.
In the front, Wild has been given some real offensive talents to build by the hockey gods. The Russian sniper Kiprill Kaprizov was the headliner of this list, but the surge in goals scored by Minnesota can also be attributed to the offensive end of the entire team. They have 15 players scored two or more goals this season. Eight of them have at least one winning goal this year. How long can it last? You have to expect some return there, don’t you think?
I’m not here to make a wet blanket for the wilderness. As I said earlier, I think their huge fan base is worth enjoying a season in which Minnesota has won more than one playoff round. This has never happened since the 2002-03 election. This is not good enough.
I hope that Wild continues to ignore expectations. I hope wild fans have a season where they can grit their teeth. I just want to point out that their current ride at the top of Central may not last long. Are they a playoff team? Of course it looks like this. But the gap between first and fourth in Central is only three points. This means you may only have a bad week and find yourself in fourth place, trying to fend off competitors in the playoffs instead of preparing for home court advantage in the playoffs. You must be very good and very consistent to become an elite NHL team. So far, the wild team has no history of becoming a true elite.
This does not mean that it cannot happen. But this is a demonstration business, the team and players must prove themselves. So far, Wild has not done so. Let us praise them patiently until they do.