Last Word On Hockey brings our Team of the Decade series. We will dive into the best player at each position this decade for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments of the decade. Here is the Minnesota Wild Team of the Decade lineup.
Minnesota Wild Decade Team
In the 2010s, the Minnesota Wild were a consistently good team, even though they never made it past the second round. From the 2012-13 NHL season to the 2017-18 NHL season, the Wild made the playoffs in six straight seasons. For most of the decade, the Wild were a consistent force, but they were never able to take that next step forward. However, the Wild had many talented players in the 2010s.
Here is a breakdown of the best players to play for the Minnesota Wild decade team by each position.
Left-Wing: Zach Parise (2012-Present)
Zach Parise first signed with the Minnesota Wild in 2012. With the Wild, Parise has put up 360 points in 485 games. When it comes to goals, Parise led all Wild players in the decade with 181. Parise used the 2010’s to firmly establish himself as the best left-winger to play for the Minnesota Wild.
Parise is a really smart hockey player who plays a really hard gritty style. Defensively, he has always been responsible and effective. Offensively, Parise has always dominated with his hard-working style and high-level hockey smarts. Parise is always looking to get into scoring spots, and therefore he has been rewarded with many goals throughout his career.
Parise’s best season with the Wild came in the 2014-15 NHL season when he buried 33 goals, and finished with a total of 62 points. Parise has also been very effective in the postseason. With the Wild, Parise has posted 31 points in 36 playoff games. For the entirety of his time with the Wild, Zach Parise has brought a tireless work ethic and has been effective in all three zones. To top it off, he has worn an “A” since his first season with Minnesota. As a whole, Parise has consistently made a big impact on the Wild, and he is the best left-winger of the 2010s.
Centre: Mikko Koivu (2010-Present)
In the 2010s, Mikko Koivu played by far the most games in a Wild uniform. Throughout the decade, Koivu accumulated 679 games played. Koivu led the entire Wild organization in assists and points for the decade, and also led all centres in goals. To top it all off, Koivu was the captain of the Wild for the entirety of the decade.
For the decade, Koivu totalled 136 goals and 342 assists for 478 points. Koivu has combined that strong offensive talent, with a high hockey IQ. This has allowed him to be a complete offensive force for years. Overall, he has always brought a strong two-way game and has been the heart and soul of the Wild for more than a decade.
Koivu’s best season of the decade came in the 2010-11 NHL season. In that year, he posted 62 points, with 45 of them being assists. His offensive talent and overall game always made him a key player for the Wild, but it was his leadership that puts him over the top. Koivu is the 4th longest-reigning NHL captain at the moment. Koivu’s leadership skills helped him lockdown his legacy as one of the greatest to ever play for the Minnesota Wild.
Right Wing: Jason Pominville (2013-2017)
Right-Wing was the toughest position to pick a player for. However, Pominville gets the nod over Nino Niederreiter due to his experience, and veteran leadership. Pominville also scored more points per game and was even more impressive in the playoffs than Niederreiter. As a whole, both players had dramatic impacts on the Wild, but Pominville’s impact was just slightly more pronounced due to his well-rounded talent and leadership.
With the Wild, Pominville played 327 games and put up 206 points. Out of those 206 points, 130 of them were assists. Throughout his career, Pominville played a strong two-way game and was always conscious about being responsible defensively. Offensively, Pominville was a smart player who was best at creating opportunities for his teammates. However, he flashed the ability to score goals as well.
Pominville’s best season with the Wild came in the 2013-14 NHL season. In that year, Pominville scored 60 points in the regular season. He was just as strong in the playoffs with nine points in 13 games. With the Wild, Pominville took on a leadership role, even if he only wore an “A” for one season. Pominville brought a veteran presence to the Wild organization and played a critical role in helping the Wild advance into the second round of the NHL playoffs twice.
Left Defensemen: Ryan Suter (2012-Present)
Ryan Suter played 572 games in the decade with the Minnesota Wild. The Wild acquired him through free agency with a lofty 13-year contract. However, Suter has more than proven his worth. For the decade, he was third in points, including first among defenseman. In games played, Suter ranked third on the Wild.
Suter has been a workhorse for the Wild since his arrival before the 2012-13 NHL season. Suter is an elite all-around defenseman who excels offensively, defensively, and in transition. Suter’s best quality is his ability to move the puck up the ice, and he has been one of the engines of the Wild blueline since his arrival in Minnesota. Suter has eaten big minutes for his whole career and led the Wild in TOI for the decade as he averaged 27:39 per game. Also, Suter led the NHL in TOI four times since he became a member of the Wild. Suter is capable of being effective both on the penalty kill and powerplay. Due to this, in the 2010s, he led Wild defensemen in points at even strength, on the powerplay, and the penalty kill.
Suter has been a consistent force for years, with many All-Star calibre seasons. This has resulted in three All-Star appearances and one First All-Star Team. To top it all off, Suter has been an assistant captain for the Wild since the 2012-13 NHL season. No Wild defenseman had as much of an impact in the decade as Ryan Suter, as he set the tone on the blueline for years.
Right Defensemen: Jared Spurgeon (2010-Present)
When people think about the Wild blue line, Suter is often the first name that jumps to mind. However, Spurgeon has been extremely effective and has flown under the radar for years. Spurgeon first made his NHL debut with the Minnesota Wild in the 2010-11 NHL season. Since then, he has been a consistent force on the backend. In the decade, he played 625 games and picked up 264 points along the way.
Even though Spurgeon is relatively undersized at only 5 feet 9 inches and 167 pounds, he has made the most of his abilities. Spurgeon is a really smart player, who relies on positioning defensively. He is a very good puck mover and has the skills necessary to produce over half a point per game. Spurgeon also has averaged over 22 minutes per game and has showcased the ability to be effective at even strength, on the powerplay, and the penalty kill.
Spurgeon’s best seasons have come in the last few years, and he has been rewarded with a massive contract extension that will kick in next year. Spurgeon has been perpetually underrated, however his phenomenal performances over the last few years have definitely turned some heads, and Spurgeon is easily the best right-shot defenseman to wear a Wild jersey in the 2010s.
Goalie: Devan Dubnyk (2015-Present)
When it comes to Wild goalies, nobody came close to Devan Dubnyk in the 2010s. Dubnyk not only led the team in games played, but he also led the team in wins and shutouts. By the time Dubnyk joined the Wild, he had been given up on by multiple NHL teams. Once he joined the Minnesota Wild, he posted a save percentage of .919 and a goals-against-average of 2.38.
In his first season with the Minnesota Wild, Dubnyk joined partway through the year. Dubnyk was traded to the Wild in exchange for only a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. In the 39 games that he played with the Wild that season, Dubnyk won 27 games, picked up six shutouts, and posted a ridiculous goals-against average of 1.78, and a save percentage of .936. He helped carry the Wild to the second round of the playoffs that season. His amazing year led to him being considered for the Vezina Trophy, although he did not win it. Also, he won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy that season.
In the years that have followed, Dubnyk has continued to be a great goaltender. After making the Second All-Star Team in his first season with the Wild, Dubnyk followed that up with All-Star appearances in three of the next four seasons. For Devan Dubnyk, a move to the Wild gave him another opportunity to succeed, and he made the most of it.
Honourable Mentions Minnesota Wild Decade Team
Mikael Granlund was a critical player for the Wild in the 2010s. He picked up over 300 points in the decade for the Wild and played nearly 500 games. If it wasn’t for him being a centre and having to compete with long-term captain Mikko Koivu, then he would likely be on the decade team.
Eric Staal only played 286 games for the Wild in the 2010s, however, he still put up over 200 points. In total, he put up 0.79 PPG. Compared to the other players who played more than 200 games for the Wild in the decade, Staal had the highest PPG rate.
That does it for the Minnesota Wild Decade Team, stay tuned for Friday’s Team of the Decade.
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