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Following the departure of the Minnesota North Stars in 1993, the Twin Cities area desperately missed cheering for a hometown hockey team. After seven long years of trying, Minnesota’s wish was granted when the NHL selected them as the home for a new expansion team, the Minnesota Wild.
Based out of St. Paul, the Wild play in the Central Division of the NHL’s Western Conference. Despite major competition, the Wild were able to get their feet under themselves early and qualified for the playoffs in their third season, reaching the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the eventual champion Anaheim Ducks. Since then, the Wild have made eight more postseason appearances but still dream of making it back to the third round and beyond.
Their most recent playoff experience came at the end of the 2017-2018 season with a disappointing exit at the hands of a dominant Winnipeg Jets team. There is, perhaps, some doubts creeping in about the future of the team under head coach Bruce Boudreau. The great regular season performance and subsequent playoff collapse mirrors the usual protocol from his stints in Washington and Anaheim. The Wild and their coach are extremely eager to shake this off and prove themselves this year with a deep playoff run culminating in their first Stanley Cup Victory.
Boudreau’s second year in Minnesota brought about a stronger sense of familiarity with the club and its roster. Leading the charge among the group is Captain Mikko Koivu. Earning the “C” on his jersey back in 2009, Koivu was a first round selection back in 2001 and has been with the organization ever since. Joining the team at the NHL level in 2005, he holds several records for the team. The Wild will have to do their best without him the rest of the way in 2019 as Koivu will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
The Minnesota Wild contains a wealth of talent in their locker room including last season’s team point leader Eric Staal, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker (who signed a five year contract worth $27.5 million in the offseason), Zach Parise, and Ryan Suter. Adding to this is Marcus Foligno, who joined the team from Buffalo. Young defenseman Matt Dumba locked in to a $30 million deal for five years in the offseason which will keep him in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.
The fans in Minnesota cannot get enough of their hometown heroes. Still a young franchise, the Wild faithful have been fortunate enough to watch some great players over the years including Miko Koivu, Marian Gaborik, Zack Parise, Ryan Suter, and Devan Dubnyk. More can be learned about this great club by clicking here.