December is almost here, and hopefully, the Minnesota Wild will start to give us the gift of a good season. While we wait and see, why don’t we count down the days with our rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas? The Wild have plenty of gifts to give us, so let’s count them.
1st Day: Prospect Goalie on our Farm Team
Just like the partridge in a pear tree, Jesper Wallstedt is within view but just out of reach. It’s been hard to wait for him to make his debut with the big club. But just like Christmas will be here before we know it, so will Wallstedt.
2nd Day: Rookie Stars
3rd Day: French (Canadian) Players
4th Day: Iowa Call-ups
This team has been through the wringer with various injuries and subsequent call-ups from the Iowa Wild. Vinni Lettieri, Daemon Hunt, and Dakota Mermis have all shown up and done a great job stepping onto a somewhat dysfunctional team.
5th Day: Stanley Cup Legacy Players
The Wild’s current roster actually has a combined eight Stanley Cups between four players. Hopefully, all of the Wild players will have their own Stanley Cup golden ring soon enough.
6th Day: Swedish Players
The Wild have four Swedish players on the roster and three more Swedish prospects. It makes sense, given Minnesota’s Scandinavian background. And don’t forget Mats Zuccarello, the Norwegian who is an honorary Swede.
7th Day: Depth Players Scoring
We don’t need to linger on the players who are struggling to score. Instead, focus on depth scoring. In past years, the depth scoring was missing. The Wild are getting great points from the likes of Pat Maroon, Jake Middleton, and Marcus Foligno this year. The Wild can keep scoring if everyone keeps pitching in.
8th Day: Improving Penalty Kill
Special teams have…struggled. (And that’s a nice way to put it.) But last weekend, the Wild showed off a penalty kill that actually killed the penalties without being scored on! An early Christmas miracle?
9th Day: Accruing Cap Space
After a glut of injuries at the beginning of the year, the Wild had to move around players and make call-ups from Iowa instead of being able to accrue cap space. But with Alex Goligoski coming off of LTIR, the Wild can accrue cap space and hopefully keep everyone healthy.
10th Day: Everybody Grinding
The Wild must grind to win. That was missing for a while. Either the Wild wouldn’t show up at puck drop, or they’d drop off in the middle of the game and start chasing. Last weekend, they showed up and ground out both games. After a lot of losing, they pushed both games into overtime to collect a point each day. It isn’t great, but it’s a start.
11th Day: Gus Bus Back To Full Strength
I say this with cautious optimism, but Filip Gustavsson looked like his old self in the net last weekend. It’s been a rough stretch, with both goalies playing in bad form. But they know that and have worked on finding their game again. Fleury might need a little more work, but maybe Gustavsson is ready.
12th Day: Prospects Tearing Up the Ice
Even if the Minnesota Wild disappoints us, there is a lot of hope for the future! In just a few more seasons, the Wild will be out of cap hell and have so many prospects ready for the NHL. Danila Yurov has 23 points in 30 KHL games. He had a 3 point night in his last game.
Hunter Haight is playing in the OHL. He has 24 points in 20 games.
Riley Heidt is currently the fifth-most productive player in the WHL. He just had an eight-point week.
Rasmus Kumpulainen also plays in the OHL and has 19 points in 19 games.
Another OHL player, Servac Petrovsky, has 22 points in 21 games.
Next summer, Liam Ohgren, Marat Khusnutdinov, and Yurov are all expected to start their North American careers.
The future is bright for the Minnesota Wild, even if things are a bit hazy now. Look at the good things the team is doing before complaining too much.
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