Minnesota Wild 2023-24 NHL Season Preview
The Minnesota Wild are one of the most balanced teams in the league. Heading into the 2023-24 season, the team from the state of hockey has something to prove. After being bounced out of the first round in last year’s playoffs, Kirill Kaprizov and company are heading into this season with high expectations.
The Wild headed into the 2022-23 season in a good, but also terrible spot. Mediocrity: The worst word to be described in sports. Not good enough to win a championship, but not bad enough to get a high-valued draft pick. Well, with breakout seasons from several players like young gun Matt Boldy and Joel Eriksson Ek, the Wild have eliminated the sense of mediocrity.
Through the preseason, the Wild finished with a record of 5-1 and scored 19 goals while giving up 15 of their own. Highlighting their season to come, let’s take a look at the projected lineup for the Wild.
Projected Starting Lineup (According to Daily Faceoff)
|Joel Eriksson Ek
The Wild didn’t seem to add many players this offseason, alluding that they’re happy with running it back this season. One player that the Wild did add, however, is veteran forward Pat Maroon. Maroon adds the much-needed playoff and veteran experience to a young and feisty Minnesota Wild team.
Three Players To Watch
Boldy comes into the 2023-24 season hot. After a breakout season with 31 goals and 31 assists for 63 points, Boldy is set to become one of the Wild’s top players this season. Pairing him with another young gun in Joel Eriksson Ek will help both Boldy and Eriksson Ek shine this season.
Rossi was drafted by the Wild No. 9 overall in the 2020 NHL draft. Since then, Rossi’s name has been floating around the Wild organization. When will he finally break out as a formidable NHL young star? Well, speak now further. This is Rossi’s year to finally catch a glimpse of NHL stardom. The 22-year-old Austrian forward brings loads of talent to an already young Wild squad. Be on the watch out for Rossi this season as the 5-foot-9 center put up almost a point per game last season with the Iowa Wild.
The Wild have been re-rolling the dice on goaltenders for what seems like their entire existence. Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson are solid goaltenders, but can be a little cold at times. If Wallstedt can continue on the right path again this year, he could certainly become a backup for the Minnesota Wild in the coming years. Be on the lookout with the Iowa Wild on how Wallstedt is progressing. Wild fans are going to love this kid when he develops even more.
The Wild have a ton of talent on their roster, but only one puck to go around. My biggest riser this season for a young but talented Wild team is Marco Rossi. Rossi will be on the second power-play unit this year, alongside Ryan Hartman and Marcu Johansson. Developing alongside veteran forwards Marcus Foligno and Frederick Gaudreau will certainly excel Rossi’s game. He is bound to break out this year. I see Marco Rossi as the Wild’s biggest riser.
My biggest faller this season for the Wild is veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury hasn’t been the same at times for the Wild and it shows. With Filip Gustavsson taking charge as goaltender, I can see the Wild moving on from Fleury or even bringing up Jesper Wallstedt from the Iowa Wild.
The Biggest Question Is…
The biggest question for the Wild is, can they put it all together? Minnesota has been a team that has all the pieces of the puzzle, but they don’t come together at the right time ever. They’re always one step behind their stride. This season seems different though. I can see the Wild taking bigger strides, but falling short like all Minnesota sports teams.
As said before, the Wild often fall victim to mediocrity. But, it seems like things are clicking for Minnesota. If their top guys can stay healthy and synchronize to one unit instead of a bunch of individuals, they will go far. I see the Wild making it to playoffs and advance but fall short due to inexperience. This team is knocking on the door, but their forces need to be a little stronger to bang down the door.
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