MN Wild Mid-Season Check-In

Jake Middleton holds off a Vegas Golden Knights player
Ian Maule / Associated Press

The Minnesota Wild have had a strange season that’s taken enough twists and turns to make anyone sick to their stomach. But now that they’re halfway through the grueling season let’s check in and see how the Wild are doing compared to pre-season predictions.

The Biggest Surprises

Top Lines Have Struggled with Consistency

One of the problems during the team’s slow start was that none of the top forwards seemed to show up for the season on time. Matt Boldy went through a scoring slump, and Kirill Kaprizov seemed to still be feeling his injury from last season. Even though Evason was known for being reluctant to switch up the lineup, he juggled the top lines without much success. Current Head Coach John Hynes seems to switch the lines up even more frequently, but it seems to be working.

Lack of Top Defensemen for Most of the Season

Jake Middleton and Brock Faber have been healthy this season, and thank goodness because they’ve had to shoulder the burden of extra ice time. With Jonas Brodin out for a significant chunk of the season along with Captain Jared Spurgeon, Middleton, and Faber both stepped up and exceeded everyone’s expectations. Middleton, the unexpected top-pair defenseman, and Faber, the rookie, have essentially held the blue line together. Zach Bogosian, acquired via trade during the season, has also been a nice addition. After disappointing seasons from both Jon Merrill and Alex Goligoski, Dakota Mermis has been a nice pull-up from the Iowa Wild.

Injuries Made Gigantic Holes in the Lineup

This point doesn’t really need to be explained because anyone who watches Wild hockey knows how much this has affected the team. At one point, the MN Wild were pulling up so many players from the Iowa Wild that they, in turn, had to pull up players from the Iowa Heartlanders. It was bad enough that the Heartlanders had to actually acquire more players just to fill their roster to keep playing. 

Rejuvenated After the All-Star Break

Despite the ups and downs of the first half of the season, the Wild have looked strong since the All-Star Break. They’ve played and won four games, looking strong and consistent in each one. One of the night of Marc-Andre Fleury’s 1000th game and 552nd win celebration, the Wild put together a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. But the best win of that span was the win in Las Vegas.

Battling the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Wild dominated and came away with a 5-3 win against a still formidable team. Their special teams showed up strong, scoring on 1 out of their three power plays and killing four out of five of their penalties.

The new top line of Matt Boldy and Kirill Kaprizov, centered by Joel Eriksson Ek have been dominating every game that they’ve played together. Frequently paired with the top pairing of Brock Faber and Jake Middleton, this top line has been averaging five points per 60 minutes played together.

After getting shut out 6-0 by the Arizona Coyotes during their first meeting, the Wild were determined not to have Wednesday’s game go the same way. They were so determined that they had 30 shots on goal during just the first period.

The Grade for the First Half?

With the inconsistencies of the first half of the season, it’s hard to rate their performance. The phrase that comes to mind has been “the tale of two teams.” The only possible grade is a C because their A+ playing averaged with their F playing can only come out mediocre. If they can keep playing like they have out of the All-Star Break, the grade will only go up. As it is, they’re only three points out of a wild card spot in a close race in the Western Conference. How the season is going to end is anyone’s guess. 

For more Minnesota Wild news and vibes, check out Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast.

A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki performs an autopsy of the 2023-24 season for the Minnesota Wild. She also touches on how a fresh start will be good for the Wild next season and the two brackets that she put together for the NHL playoffs this year.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. A Post-Mortem for the MN Wild Season
  2. Trading Gustavsson Would Be the Dumbest Idea Ever
  3. Bold Statement: I Would NOT Trade Brock Faber for Connor Bedard
  4. The Mom of Wild Twitter Says the Season Isn't Over Yet!
  5. The Wild Can Still Make the Playoffs if We Send Good Vibes!

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