Missing the Playoffs is a Good Thing for the Wild

Jesper Wallstedt in net for the Minnesota Wild
Creator: Jerome Miron | Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports Copyright: Jerome Miron

The Minnesota Wild are out of the playoffs. Even though technically they have a 0.5% chance, it isn’t going to happen. While that sucks for everyone from the players to the fans, there are some built-in advantages that the Wild can take advantage of.

Wallstedt Can Get a Better Chance

The Wild recalled Jesper Wallstedt earlier today. Poor Wallstedt had his NHL debut happen in one of the worst games of the season and it wasn’t his fault. Thankfully, Wally seems to have a great attitude and is only looking forward. Since the coming games “won’t matter” for the Wild, this is a great chance for Wallstedt to get another NHL start while playing on a more even field. This is important because the Wild have a goalie problem. The goalie tandem for next year is still to be decided.

Khusnutdinov Can Acclimate

Marat Khusnutdinov was one of the most exciting prospects as the Wild came into the 2023-24 season. After much build-up, he made the move from Russia to Minnesota this spring. And while fans are behind him 100%, he still has some learning to do. He’s taken a few dumb penalties and made some mistakes on the ice. He isn’t the only one, obviously, but coming in toward the very end of the season is tough. The Wild have been struggling. Khusnutdinov is also learning everything from scratch. He’s got the Wild plays down, but he’s only faced a handful of teams. There’s a large learning curve when it comes to opposing teams and the quirks to look out for from important players. Coming down the stretch, Khusnutdinov can take advantage of the fact that it’s okay to make mistakes while he learns more and more about hockey in the NHL.

Tryouts for More Prospects?

The Iowa Wild are still battling for a playoff spot. It may very well be down to the wire for whether they get a playoff berth, but if it becomes apparent that they’re out of the playoffs, there is a chance for prospects other than Wallstedt. Iowa has struggled this year with many brand-new and young prospects. While Minnesota shouldn’t throw the young ones to the wolves, there could be chances for other prospects to try out an NHL game.

Motivation for Next Season

This is the first time that Minnesota hasn’t made the playoffs since 2019. They’ve made the playoffs in 10 out of the last 11 years. Not making the playoffs this year will come as a major blow to the Wild players. Being professional athletes, they are wired to win. A non-playoff year will hopefully galvanize them to work hard in the off-season and come back ready to dominate during the 2024-25 season. If you remember back to the win streak that the Wild went on after Head Coach John Hynes was hired, that would be a good picture of what the Wild can look like this year.

Heal Nagging Injuries

There are plenty of players who are playing through lingering, nagging injuries. Sometimes, it is obvious (like Freddy Gaudreau after the Ryan Reaves hit at the beginning of the year) but others aren’t as glaring. With an extra month off, injuries can be really, totally healed before the players get back in the weight room and on the ice.

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibe checks, listen to Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy! Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki talks about the abundance of amazing hockey between the NHL Playoffs and the IIHF Men's World Championships. She also touches on a few fun facts and rambles a bit too much after too many days between podcast episodes. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR   
  1. Hockey, Hockey, Everywhere! That's Why I've Been So Busy!
  2. It's The Playoffs, Baby!
  3. Hockey Culture is Disgusting and Needs to Change
  4. A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season
  5. Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever

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