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The Landlubber’s Guide to the Minnesota Wild

What you need to know ahead of tonight’s Kraken game

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Hey you. You’re swept up in all this Seattle Kraken hype. You want to know more about hockey but don’t know where to start. Well, we want to help make these games easy and fun for you to watch.

Throughout the season, we’ll release Landlubber’s Guides designed with the new fan in mind. This includes basic need-to-know info for you to absorb before you watch Kraken games and highlights.

Let’s dive in to the Minnesota Wild

Are they any good?

They are very good. The Wild have been known as a boring team in the NHL for years now, generally finishing in the middle of the pack and exiting the playoffs in the first round. That changed last season with the arrival of Kirill Kaprizov, which turned them into must-see TV and helped them nearly keep pace with the Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Division. They took Vegas to 7 games in the first round of the playoffs but ultimately still couldn’t get over that first round hump.

This year they’ve come roaring back to a 5-1 record, sitting 2nd in the Central Division—a division that doesn’t include the powerhouse Knights that they had to deal with last year. It’s still early but they should at the very least make the playoffs this year, if not win the whole division.

Who should I look out for?

  • Kirill Kaprizov (Left Wing, #97) - Kaprizov was the near-unanimous decision as the Calder Trophy winner last season after scoring 27 goals in 55 games, with many of them looking like this:
  • Matt Dumba (Defender, #24) - Dumba was an early frontrunner as the expansion selection for the Kraken, until Minnesota went so far as to buy out the contract of veteran defenseman Ryan Suter in the offseason to open up a last-minute protection slot. He notched his first goal of the year with this game-winner against the Canucks on Tuesday:

Any Seattle ties?

  • Connor Dewar (Center, #52) - Dewar spent four seasons with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, where he finished with 197 points—tied for 6th most all-time in franchise history. He was selected in the 3rd round by the Wild in the 2018 draft and will make his NHL debut tonight in Seattle.

Odds and Ends

  • Carson Soucy was Seattle’s selection in the expansion draft. The 6’5” defenseman has played in 5 games so far this year for the Kraken and has tallied 1 goal.
  • Two Wild forwards were placed in COVID protocol ahead of Thursday’s game. Mats Zuccarello, the team’s points leader through six games, is one of them.
  • Minnesota was home of the North Stars for 25 years until they moved to Dallas and dropped the “North” from their name, which makes sense geographically speaking. They got a team back eight years later when the Wild expansion franchise was announced and made the playoffs for the first time three years later.
  • The Wild had one of the better reverse retro jerseys in the NHL last season, despite the resemblance to the Subway color scheme.

The puck drops at 7pm PST tonight at Climate Pledge Arena and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports NW for regional subsribers.