Minnesota is probably the sneakiest team in the league. They seem to always just barely find themselves in a playoff spot and putting up a fight against a superior team. In 2015, they were looking like they were clearly missing the postseason until a late push secured them a wild card spot. They ended up defeating St. Louis, but, once again ran into the Blackhawks. This past season, they rebounded from a bad streak that seemed to knock them out of contention once Mike Yeo was let go. They managed to get in with just 86 points, which I believe is one of the lowest point totals to make the playoffs. In reality, it was the textbook way on how to just miss the playoffs: stay in contention, fall into a drought and out of contention, then make a late push just to fall short. Yet, they somehow found their way in.
Minnesota matched up well with Dallas and pushed them to six games in the first round. They came just one goal short of coming back from a 4 goal deficit to possibly send it to a game 7. Not long after their elimination, they hired Bruce Boudreau as their head coach once Anaheim fired him.
In the offseason, they let go of Vanek and decided to sign Eric Staal. It’s hard to say how this will work out. Last year, Staal had the lowest point totals since his rookie season, tallying just 13 goals and 26 assists. Personally, I hope he revives his career and is a big help for the Wild. Minnesota also acquired Chris Stewart, who is a solid top 9 forward. He can produce about 15 goals in a season, along with 15 to 20 assists. They aren’t big numbers, but still very solid ones for a 3rd line forward. The Wild also signed goaltender Alex Stalock to back up Devin Dubnyk.
I think with Boudreau as the head coach and the small additions they’ve made, they will probably sneak into the playoffs again.