The Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild pulled their act together out of thin air last season. Despite being a first-round exit against the Vegas Golden Knights in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Wild seemed to be turning the corner. The 2022 season so far has felt like the revenge tour of the Wild. The central division is a beast so far, but the Wild have been keeping up in the race to the top.
Various factors are contributing to the success of the Wild thus far. However, Kirill Kaprizov has undoubtedly been the most valuable asset on the team. He has been dynamite on skates this season. He currently leads the team in points with 44 in 34 games. Up to this point, his $9,000,000 annual-average-value contract seems to be a massive hit for the organization going forward.
The goaltending tandem the Wild have had this season has been incredibly effective. Cam Talbot has been taking most of the starts and has decent numbers to back him up. That being said, Kähkönen has put up even better numbers despite having fewer starts. As a result, the Wild have their net presence locked down, and they give the team a decent chance of success in the postseason.
If the Wild manage to win the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it will be their first Stanley Cup in franchise history. That being said, some adjustments still need to be made. The Wild are still lacking on goal scorers. While they certainly have more offensive firepower than the Kings do, they could use more goal support from the blue-line. If they find their footing, they could be a massive threat in this year’s playoffs.