The 2020-21 Minnesota Wild are in a precarious spot. On one hand, they have a solid crop of young players in Matt Dumba, Kirill Kaprizov, and Jonas Brodin. On the other, they lack the depth or superstar talent to pack a significant punch in the playoffs. With new additions to the prospect pool, the Wild look poised to jumpstart their future — but it will take a while for them to reach a true contender status. Yet, there is Minnesota Wild optimism, and here’s three reasons why.
With that in mind, it’s important to keep an optimistic mindset when times get tough. To keep the spirits high, remarking on what makes the team so special helps.
Reasons for Optimism in the 2020-21 Minnesota Wild
The Emergence of Kirill Kaprizov
At long last, Kirill Kaprizov will suit up with the Minnesota Wild. The highly touted Russian prospect, who scored a jaw-dropping 153 points in three seasons in the KHL, is ready to make his NHL debut this season. He’s a tenacious, creative winger that utilizes every facet of his game to generate offence. When paired alongside Kevin Fiala, the duo will be a force to reckon with in the Central Division. At just 23 years old, Kaprizov still has a ways to go before he reaches his ceiling.
Biggest reason for optimism: Kaprizov’s scoring record in the KHL has several similarities to NHL stars like Artemi Panarin and Evgeny Kuznetsov. With fellow comparables like that, it’s easy to get swept up in the Kaprizov hype train. If he continues to develop at the pace he has, he can easily become an elite player in the NHL. When fellow Wild prospect Marco Rossi breaks into the NHL, he and Kaprizov will have a chance to work in tandem with one another. Their duo will spell doom for many a goaltender in the future.
Marco Rossi’s Potential
In several draft models, Marco Rossi was predicted as a top-three draft choice. In others, he consistently made the top five. The fact that he dropped as low as ninth overall is an exciting win for the Minnesota Wild. Rossi is a ruthlessly dynamic offensive threat. Last season, Rossi scored an absolutely astounding 120 points in just 56 games with the Ottawa 67s. His exceptional offensive ability is only matched by his outstanding defence, making him the perfect all-around player for the Wild.
Biggest reason for optimism: Rossi has the potential to be the biggest steal of the draft. He’s been compared to players like Patrice Bergeron, the Boston Bruins top-center and four-time winner of the Selke trophy. If he reaches the status of greats like Bergeron, the Wild will be in good hands for years to come.
The end of an era is usually signified by big-ticket trades. Whether it’s Erik Karlsson‘s departure from the Ottawa Senators or Taylor Hall‘s from the New Jersey Devils, big trades always push the team in one direction. If Wild general manager Bill Guerin is thinking of rebuilding, he’ll need to figure out what kind of return he’ll get on assets like Jared Spurgeon, Mats Zuccarello, and others. Unfortunately, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter‘s contracts make them nearly untradeable. With that being said, though, the realm of possibility on trades isn’t too far-fetched.
Biggest reason for Minnesota Wild optimism: If Guerin decides to kick-start the rebuild, he can receive a slew of prospects and assets in return for trades. Teams on the verge of contention would salivate at the opportunity to trade their picks and players for Mathew Dumba or Jonas Brodin. It’s all determinant on what Guerin decides to do. Does he risk trading some of his best players for future results, or does he stick with his plan and hope it plays off?
The future is as uncertain as it is exciting in the land of the Wild.