September 32-in-32: Minnesota Wild

Nate Villa

2022-09-16

Minnesota Wild logo courtesy of 365twincities.com

 

 

Welcome to the September 2022 edition of the DobberProspects 32-in-32 Series. This month, we are diving into the depth of each organization, looking at their recent graduates, risers, fallers and top-20 prospects. 

 

 

The upcoming season will be very interesting for the Minnesota Wild. They have had an eventful off-season where they lost one of their elite forward talents in Kevin Fiala and figured out the goaltending situation at least for the foreseeable future. For a team that is looking to compete now, they unfortunately did not have the cap space to strengthen their roster due to the past buyouts of Parise and Suter. 

Minnesota is hoping that a couple rookies and entry-level players can step up and take a jump in the development to assist the offense and defense of the Wild. This has been demonstrated by the recent pick-ups that Bill Guerin has made by signing UFA Sam Steel and trading away veteran defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to make room for younger players. Overall, the team has a well-balanced offense and great veteran presence on the blueline with a future Hall of Fame goaltender in nets who has shown that he still has the ability to lead a team in the NHL Playoffs. Bill Guerin is navigating the team in the right direction and we can expect the Minnesota Wild to be a playoff team. How far they can go is dependent on the performance of the players on the ice and the coaching staff leading them. 

The projected lineup for the 2022-23 season will remain very similar for the forward group. The top line should remain unchanged with Hartman centering both Kaprizov and Zuccarello. With Hartman having a breakout season in 2021-22, this line will need to keep up the production they had in the previous season to remain competitive. The Wild will hope Boldy is able to fill the shoes of Kevin Fiala on the second line, while top prospect, Marco Rossi, is on the cusp of breaking into the roster after a great rookie season in the AHL. The rest of the forward core is a great mix of veterans that can support young NHLers consisting of Duhaime, Dewar and Jost, the latter of whom is still looking to live up to his original potential when he was drafted by Colorado. 

Kaprizov – Hartman – Zuccarello

Boldy – Eriksson Ek – Foligno

Steel/Greenway (Injured) – Gaudreau – Duhaime

Dewar – Rossi – Jost

 

Due to the strong center depth up front, Rossi may have to start on the bottom six. If he is able to surprise and show he is ready, do not be surprised to see him quickly move into the top six. There will be quite a bit of competition for roles in the bottom six, where the Wild system has many players that can play a role. There are three players who are on the outside looking in, but fans should not be surprised to see them crack the opening night roster. These players are Mason Shaw and Adam Beckman, both of whom played games for the Minnesota Wild during the 2021-22 season, as well as Nicolas Petan, who has just been signed this off-season. It will be interesting to see who is able to make the lineup and who starts off in the press box. The players that are on cusp are not known for their high-offensive ceilings, but more so for their grit and compete. The majority of them are interchangeable and their position in the line-up or depth chart will depend on their pre-season training camp. Greenway will most likely be injured to start the season, so Steel could get a chance to play in a middle-six to see what he can do in a change of scenery. 

When it comes to the defense, there should not be many changes compared to the 2021-22 season. Minnesota was constrained with the type of moves they