The Minnesota Wild are in a strange position and have been for quite some time, as they have long been a bubble team.
Each season the Minnesota Wild are always near the Playoff hunt, sometimes qualifying, other times not. When they do get in, they pose almost zero threat to go on a run of any sort. The problem with this is that when they do miss, they aren’t able to get high draft picks to help turn them around given that many teams still place below them in the standings.
They are a team who over the years has had no real sense of direction, failing to become contenders but also refusing to rebuild. In fact, they were already tied for being the oldest team in the entire NHL prior to former General Manager Paul Fenton signing forward Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30 million deal.
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The Norwegian forward was nearly 32-years-old at the time of the signing. This was just one of many odd moves the Wild have made over the years that have continued to result in them being a middling team.
Prior to the 2019-20 season, however, the Wild announced the hiring of Bill Guerin as their New General manager, ushering in a new sense of direction for this stuck-in-the-mud franchise. While he himself has made a few eyebrow raising moves, he has done an overall solid job so far and appears to have a clear vision for this team.
This is good news for Wild fans, as they have the potential to be very good in a few years due to their extremely impressive prospect pool. Though they will likely struggle in 2020-21, they could soon turn things around.
As mentioned in every other top 8 prospects article throughout this series, any player who has played in more NHL games than any other league in a season, regardless of the season, will not be included. With that being said, here are the Minnesota Wild’s top 8 prospects worth getting excited about…
8. Alexander Khovanov
The first prospect making his appearance on this list is Alexander Khovanov. The Russian center was taken by the Minnesota Wild in the Third Round (No. 86 overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old has spent the last three seasons in the QMJHL playing for the Moncton Wildcats. During his draft eligible season, which happened to be his rookie year, he was limited to just 29 games due to contracting hepatitis A during a trip to the Dominican Republic prior to the season began. Though he wasn’t able to begin his season until late December, he made the most of it as he put up 28 points.
Khovanov proceeded to put up 74 points in his second season, but it was the 2019-20 season that really proved just how talented he is. In just 51 games with the Wildcats, he scored 32 goals and had 99 points. His 99-points led his team in scoring by a wide margin, as Jeremy McKenna came in second with 82. An even crazier stat line from that season was his plus/minus, as he finished the year as a plus 58. On top of that, he also represented Team Russia at the 2020 World Juniors where he had eight points in seven contests.
The future looks very bright for the talented Russian.