Minnesota Wild NHL History
In June of 1997, the NHL awarded expansion franchises to the following cities- Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota/Columbus, Ohio/Nashville, Tennessee/and Atlanta, Georgia. The six final names considered for the franchise were the Blue Ox, Northern Lights, Voyageurs, Freeze, White Bears, and Wild. Many thought the White Bears would win, but the team chose to go with Wild.
The Wild came to Minneapolis in 2000, and their home ice is in Minneapolis. They play at the Xcel Energy Center, which is actually in the city of St. Paul. Jacques Lemaire was the
first head coach, leading the team to a Western Conference final round by season three. By 2008, the team managed to grab their first division championship, with an overall record of 44-28-10. The
team was two games over .500 for road games at season's end. Their home record was much stronger, ending with a 25-11-5 record at the Xcel Energy Center. Sadly, the team lost a series to the Colorado Avalanche.
Their top scorers that season were Marian Gaborik, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Brian Rolston. Their top goaltender was Niklas Backstrong with a save percentage of .920.
In 2009, the team parted ways with head coach Lemire, and the GM Doug Risenbrough. That meant that most of the management working under both men also decided to leave the team. The team
would miss the playoffs for the next two years. The NHL lockout further damaged the prospects of the Wild. Things turned around for the Wild in 2013, as they made it to the Stanley Cup playoffs
as a Wild Card. They made it past the first round, but lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.
2015 has been a very interesting season for the Wild. For the first half of the regular season, the Wild were one of the worst teams in the league. On January 15 the Wild traded a third round draft choice to the Phoenix Coyotes for Devan Dubnyk. Since the trade, Dubnyk has played at a historic level and the Wild were the hottest team in the league entering the playoffs. They disposed of the St. Louis Blues in six games in round one, and are currently down 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks in round two.
After a great 2014-2015 regular season, the team earned a spot in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. Will the team go even further this year?
The Minnesota Wild had an average 2015-2016 season. The Wild finished the season with 87 points, good for the 8th seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The Wild then lost to the Dallas Stars in the opening round in six games. If the Wild want to take the next step forward, they need to fix their offense, in which they ranked 18th in goals scored league wide last season. 19-year-old center Joel Eriksson-Elk, the Wild's 2015 first round draft choice, figures to take a step forward and help solve the offensive issues. Also look for another great season from Minnesota native Zach Parise, a winger. With the 15th overall selection in the 2016 NHL draft, the Wild selected center Luke Kunin, who will play for the Wisconsin Badgers this season.
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