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  • The Minnesota Wild: One Year Ago


    It’s been an interesting season so far for the Minnesota Wild, who are currently in 2nd place in points in both the Central Division and Western Conference, behind only the Chicago Blackhawks. With the way the Wild’s season ended last year, it’s easy to see the season so far as a clear step up from last year, but how true is that? Before the Wild’s slump, how well was the team from yesteryear doing?

    The Wild hold that 2nd place spot with 40 points in 30 games and have a record of 18 wins, 8 regulation losses, and 4 overtime losses. Last year through 30 games and through the same date, the Wild were 4th in the Central Division and 5th in the Western Conference with 40 points and a record of 17 wins, 7 regulation losses, and 6 overtime losses. Ironic, huh? The Wild’s record at home this year is 11 wins, 3 regulation losses, and 0 overtime losses while their home record last year was 12 wins, 3 losses, and 1 overtime loss. Thus the Wild have played 2 less home games this year than last year through 30 games. This year away from the X, the Wild have a record of 7 wins, 5 regulation losses, and 4 overtime losses while the Wild’s away record last year was 5 wins, 4 regulation losses, and 5 overtime losses.

    So far this year, the Wild have only played 10 games against divisional opponents and won 5 of those games. Last year, Minnesota had played another Central Division team 15 times and won 7 of those games.

    The Wild are currently on a win streak with 7 consecutive victories, and their longest losing streak this year only lasted 3 games. Last year, the Wild’s longest winning streak lasted only 3 games, and their longest losing streak was also 3 games long.

    Offensively, the Wild currently have a total of 89 goals for from 18 different goal scorers. At the same time last year, the Wild had a total of only 84 goals for from the same total of 18 different goal scorers. Eric Staal currently leads the Wild in points with 24, and he is followed closely by Charlie Coyle with 22 and Nino Niederreiter with 20. Last year, Mikko Koivu was the Wild’s top point getter with 28, and he was followed by Thomas Vanek with 24 and Ryan Suter with 24. Staal and Coyle are currently tied with the most goals at 10, and Niederreiter and Coyle are tied with the most power play goals at 3. Last year, Thomas Vanek led the team in goals with 11 and Zach Parise was second on the team with 10. Vanek and Parise were tied for the most power play goals at 4. Staal also currently leads the Wild in shots with 86 while Jason Zucker led the Wild in shots last year with 85. Minnesota currently has the 19th most effective power play at 16.7%, and last year they ranked 9th with 20.8%.

    Defensively, the Minnesota hs only let in 60 goals against this year with a goal differential of +29. Last year, the Wild had already let in 70 goals with a goal differential of +14. They currently have the 6th best penalty kill in the league at 84.3%, and last year, the Wild had the 25th best penalty kill at 77.8%. This year, the Wild player with the worst 5-on-5 CF% with at least 10 games played is Chris Stewart with 39.3%. The worst last year was Christian Folin at 38.5%. With the same conditions, the Wild player with the current best CF% is Niederreiter at 55.3% while the 5-on-5 CF% leader last year was Koivu with 57.5%. The player with the most blocked shots this year is Jared Spurgeon with 54, and the player with the most blocked shots last year was Jared Spurgeon with 63. Niederreiter currently has the most hits on the team with 52 while Chris Porter lead the team in hits last year with 80.

    On an individual basis, Coyle and Niederreiter are having better years so far as they both have 8 more points than they did at the same time last year. Meanwhile, Koivu, Parise, and Ryan Suter are all having a relatively worse year in points; Koivu has 9 less points, Suter has 6 less points, and Parise, in one more game, has 6 less points. Brodin is also having a much better year as he has 8 more points and 20 more shots on goal. Zucker has 2 more points and 39 less shots. Jason Pominville has 5 less points and 21 less shots. Mikael Granlund has 1 more point and 5 fewer shots. Matt Dumba has 2 more points and 5 more shots, and Spurgeon has 5 less points and 9 more shots. More specifically, Spurgeon has 3 fewer goals, and the only goal he does have this year was an empty net goal. Granted, the Wild’s top right-handed defenseman has played 4 fewer games due to an injury earlier this season.

    So far, many seasonal aspects balance each other out compared to last year, such as the swapped power play and penalty kill ranks and the vets slowing down while the youths step up. The Wild are currently better at home than they were last year and have played slightly fewer home games. If this continues, then that alone puts the Wild in a better position moving forward this season than last. Overall, the Wild have had a similar, but slightly better, season this year than last. However, the biggest difference between this season and last will come in the next few months. After Christmas last year, the Wild went on a long slump that ultimately cost Mike Yeo his job. If the Wild can avoid their annual slump, they can expect much better regular season results that will better prepare them for the playoffs.

    All stats taken from Hockey-Reference and the official NHL website.

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