National Hockey League

Central Division Preview: Minnesota Wild

nhl4MINNESOTA WILD: TEAM LOOK-AHEAD
In 2018-19, the Wild missed the postseason for the first time since 2011-12, snapping a streak of six consecutive playoff appearances. Minnesota will look to avoid consecutive seasons outside the playoff picture, something they have not experienced since a four-campaign drought from 2008-09 to 2011-12.

SEASON-OPENING STATS
* The longest season-opening goal streak by a Wild skater is three games, accomplished three times including once by current Wild forward Zach Parise (2015-16). The other instances: Antti Miettinen in 2008-09 and Chris Stewart in 2017-18.

OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK
* Eric Staal has topped the 20-goal mark in each of his first three seasons with the Wild (28 in 2016-17; 42 in 2017-18; 22 in 2018-19). No player in Wild history has reached the 20-goal mark in each of their first four seasons with the franchise – Brian Rolston is the only other skater to do so in each of his first three campaigns with Minnesota.

* Matt Dumba led all NHL defensemen with 12 goals in 32 games before suffering a season-ending injury in December of 2018 – five shy of the franchise mark for goals by a blueliner.

* Zach Parise sits 33 goals shy of becoming the third player to score 200 goals with the franchise. He would join Marian Gaborik (219) and Mikko Koivu (201).

* Newly signed forward Mats Zuccarello needs 45 points to reach 400 for his NHL career (114-241—355 in 511 GP), a milestone not yet reached by a player born in Norway.

THE FUTURE IS NOW
* Ryan Donato, 23, had 4-12—16 in 22 games with the Wild in 2018-19 after being acquired in a trade with the Bruins. Donato’s 0.73 points-per-game with Minnesota ranked second on the roster behind Zach Parise (0.82) among players still with the team at the end of 2018-19.

* Luke Kunin, 21, Minnesota’s first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft (No. 15), had 6-11—17 in 49 NHL games in 2018-19 and looks to carry a more prominent role this season. Only four players in Wild history have recorded a 20-goal season prior to their 23rd birthday: Marian Gaborik (2x; 2001-02 & 2002-03), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (2006-07), Guillaume Latendresse (2009-10) and Nino Niederreiter (2014-15).

BETWEEN THE PIPES
* Devan Dubnyk is one of three goaltenders with 30 or more wins in each of the last five seasons, joining Pekka Rinne and Braden Holtby. Dubnyk (165) sits 30 wins from surpassing Niklas Backstrom (194) for the most victories in franchise history.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with Wild. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005)
Most assists: 2 – five players; most recent: Ryan Donato (Feb. 21, 2019)
Most points: 3 – Todd White (Oct. 5, 2005)
 
DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005)
Most assists: 2 – Louie Belpedio (April 7, 2018)
Most points: 2 – Kurtis Foster (Nov. 19, 2005) and Louie Belpedio (April 7, 2018)
 
GOALTENDERS
Most saves: 43 – John Curry (April 10, 2014)
Shutout: Dwayne Roloson (Oct. 6, 2001) and Devan Dubnyk (Jan. 15, 2015)

First season with Wild. . .
SKATERS
Most goals: 34 – Brian Rolston (2005-06)
Most assists: 48 – Andrew Brunette (2001-02)
Most points: 79 – Brian Rolston (2005-06)

DEFENSEMEN
Most goals: 14 – Marc-Andre Bergeron (2008-09)
Most assists: 30 – Marek Zidlicky (2008-09)
Most points: 42 – Marek Zidlicky (2008-09)
 
GOALTENDERS
Most wins: 27 – Devan Dubnyk (2014-15)
Most Shutouts: 5 – three goaltenders; most recent: Devan Dubnyk (2014-15)

— NHL Public Relations

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