The Minnesota Wild have reached the playoffs in nine of the last ten years. They still managed to have 37 wins when missing the playoffs. In that case, the Wild should clinch a playoff berth for the 2022-23 NHL season.
But while we’d be confident recommending an NHL wager on the Wild to make the playoffs, it isn’t quite as easy to see them reach the Conference Finals, because they’ve only done it once in franchise history and perhaps lack the quality to go all the way this year.
It took the Wild a few games to find their feet this year, but they’ve since settled into a more comfortable looking team on the ice. They could be one to watch if they can build further momentum, and will be looking to make it past the first round in the playoffs.
Kirill Kaprizov is looking strong upfront, being invaluable for both goals and assists. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie last year, and was also selected to participate in the 2022 All-Star Game. He is getting support from Mats Zuccarello, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Calen Addison. Meanwhile, Matt Boldy is another asset to the attack and is capable of hitting the back of the net regularly.
Sam Steel, Jacob Middleton, and team captain Jared Spurgeon are also key figures in Minnesota’s starting line this year. In terms of goaltending, they also have steady players in Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustavsson.
The Wild entered the postseason in each of the last three seasons. Unfortunately, all of them were first-round exits.
They haven’t made it past the opening round in their previous six appearances. Before that spell, Minnesota reached the second round in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
They clinched a playoff berth last year but were eliminated by the St. Louis Blues in six games of their opening-round series.
The Wild franchise was founded in 1997, four years after the Minnesota North Stars moved to Texas to become the Dallas Stars. However, they didn’t play their first NHL season until 2000. They reached the Western Conference Finals in their third season, but were swept by the Anaheim Ducks.
While Minnesota are yet to win a conference title, they won their only division title in 2007-08. The Wild also has four second-place division finishes, including the 2021-22 season, wherein they won 52 games.
The Wild play their home games at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, also known as “The X.” It was opened in September 2000 and can accommodate up to 17,954 spectators during hockey matches. The stadium and the nearby RiverCentre convention facility are the first to receive three sustainability certifications. These are the Green Globes, APEX/ASTM, and LEED Certifications.
During games, the arena’s atmosphere comes in spades from the residents in the so-called “State of Hockey.” They take pride in featuring hockey jerseys from every Minnesota high school at Xcel. They also motivate the crowd to cheer through their organ, foghorn, and drumline. These elements encourage the team’s fans to make noise, primarily when disrupting the other team’s play.
In terms of hockey fights, the Wild always seem to have bad blood with some Canada-based teams. They’ve had 64 fights against the Vancouver Canucks, 53 against the Calgary Flames, and 46 against the Edmonton Oilers. It might be something to do with sharing a border with Canada that sees Minnesota considering these teams their rivals.
Fighting aside, and based on their disappointing playoff history, the Chicago Blackhawks are the Wild’s biggest rivals. They’ve met in the playoffs thrice from 2012 to 2015, but the Blackhawks always had the upper hand. The Wild have also had postseason feuds with the Blues and the Colorado Avalanche.