MN Wild into the playoffs


MN Wild in team celebration

Cam Trout, Writer

The Minnesota Wild are 46-25-8 moving into the final stretch of the 2016-2017 season. The Wild are currently second in the central division behind the Chicago Blackhawks and have been battling for first place all season. After new additions Martin Hanzal and Ryan White, the Wild are making last minute adjustments to prepare themselves for a hopeful playoff push. OHS lunches have recently polled and only 34 percent believe that the Wild will make it to the Stanley Cup.

The Wild became an NHL team in 2001 and have always struggled to produce in the playoffs. Last season, the Wild fired their head coach Mike Yeo after a disappointing season with a record of 38-33-11, leaving them fifth in the central division, and hired Bruce Boudreau with hopes of a winning season. Boudreau is now the fifth head coach of the Wild.

Since hiring Boudreau the team has been doing very well, and the Wild are one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. On March 26 the Wild were able to clinch a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the Wild have continued to drop points and struggle to win. With only two games remaining in the regular season the Wild plan to fix their problems before the playoffs. Coach Boudreau said, “We will have an early playoff exit if we continue to play at this level.” Wild fans everywhere are eager to see what the Wild have in store for the postseason.

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The Wild have had many key leaders step up during this season. Captain Mikko Koivu is in his twelfth season with the Minnesota Wild, and his experience is vital to the team’s success. Forward Mikael Granlund has set an example for his teammates on the ice. He currently has 25 goals and 43 assists combined for 68 points which leads the team, and is ranked among the top players in the NHL. His increasing dominance on the ice has allowed the Wild to be creative in the offensive zone and continue scoring. Lastly, goalie Devan Dubnyk has been one of the major keys to the Wild’s great record. His goaltending has proven to be the deciding factor in close games. Dubnyk has lead the NHL in save percentage many times throughout the season.

Currently the Wild has many players from all over the world: Finland, Sweden, Canada, and across the United States. In fact there are four active Minnesota natives on the Wild: Zach Parise, Jordan Schroeder, Nate Prosser, and Alex Stalock. Parise was born in Minneapolis, MN and played for Shattuck- St. Mary’s in Faribault, MN. Schroeder was born in Lakeville, MN, grew up in Burnsville, MN, and played high school hockey for St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, MN. He later continued playing hockey at the University of Minnesota. Prosser was born and raised in Elk River, MN where he played youth and high school hockey. Lastly, Stalock was born in St. Paul, MN and played college hockey at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Stalock was recently called up from the Iowa Wild for his Wild debut against the Ottawa Senators on March 30.

With these leaders and a deep roster, the Wild are a force from the north who are looking to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. Their next regular season game is away in Denver, Colorado on April 6 versus the Colorado Avalanche. Soon after in the second week of April the NHL playoffs will officially begin.