This season for the Minnesota Wild might just be as good as the last. Maybe it won’t have the flash or the pizazz as their breakout year where they broke a bunch of franchise records along the way, but there are plenty of reasons to get excited about this team.
Beyond the initial excitement, there might be some wacky things going on and since this is still a team transitioning from the current core to the next, we might be able to expect some transactions and big moves from GM Bill Guerin. But, first, let’s just sit around and ponder about things we think are some bold predictions about the upcoming season.
Matt Dumba doesn’t finish the season with the Wild, involved in blockbuster
Ah, it’s one we don’t really like to think about but the writing has been on the wall for a few years now. Matt Dumba is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and with the Wild’s cap situation being what it is — millions of dead cap because of buyouts and Matt Boldy needing a new contract — he most likely will not be a member of the Wild next season. But, we’re thinking that Minnesota is already thinking about his replacement in the lineup (we’ll get to that) and trade him off before the deadline for some forward help.
Who will that be? Well it’s another core piece of a team trying to next the next step that just so happens to be an unrestricted free agent next summer as well — Detroit Red Wings captain and top center Dylan Larkin. Somehow and someway, the Wild are going to get Larkin to head into the playoffs with and have Larkin-Rossi-Eriksson Ek down the middle to form potentially the most potent two-way forward group to ever exist. This moves solves some scoring, opens up a spot on the blue line for future prospects, and the Wild can commit to Larkin if they want to.
Plus, Dumba provides Detroit that gritty offensive power that they desperately want, because after Moritz Seider, there isn’t a whole lot to work with back there.
Calen Addison finishes top-5 in scoring
These first two predictions go hand-in-hand, but with Dumba seeing a potential decreasing role and getting shipped out at the deadline, Calen Addison will be one of the Wild’s top-five scorers by the end of the season. If he remains on that top powerplay unit and he can continue being the excellent transition blueliner we have come to know and love, he might just end up racking up a bunch of points and much more than the likes of Marcus Foligno, Frederick Gaudreau, and Joel Eriksson Ek.
Kirill Kaprizov wins a trophy
Kirill Kaprizov is one of the NHL’s best players, and it feels so good to say that. We all know it too! He can produce points like nothing else and is an absolute weapon no matter who he is playing with. That’s why, we think he will come out of this season having earned a trophy. Whether that’s the Hart Trophy for dragging this team to the playoffs or a 100-point campaign, or the Art Ross Trophy for leading the entire league in points, he will get something that he can show off.
Wild win the Central Division
Because of all this success, the Wild will taste glory as the winners of the Central Division. We might just be accounting on the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes to be terrible, the Nashville Predators to not have the same magic, and the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues just being mediocre teams that are only getting older, but most of all, the Colorado Avalanche will have that Stanley Cup hangover, and will finish behind Minnesota.
Not all of these thoughts are happy ones, but we would rather predict good things to happen for this team than bad ones. The season hasn’t even started yet, there’s no time to be negative!