Minnesota Wild: 2017-2018 season preview

ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 14: (L-R) Eric Staal
ST PAUL, MN - APRIL 14: (L-R) Eric Staal /

Minnesota Wild hockey is back and the guys are ready to take the ice against the Detroit Red Wings in the season opener. 

The Minnesota Wild are set to take the ice for regular season play after a season with so much promise, but ended in disaster. The Wild face off against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, October 5, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI. Puck drops at 6:30 p.m. Central time in the season opener. First let’s take a look at what to expect this season. 

The Minnesota Wild is without star forward Zach Parise for the team’s first road trip. He is still recovering from a back injury. According to the Star Tribune, he should be good to go for practice next week.

Devan Dubnyk will be the starter between the pipes for the Wild. Last season, Dubnyk had a 40-19-5 record to go along with a .923 save percentage, 2.25 goals against average and five shutouts.

The Wild set franchise records last season with most wins (49) and most points (106) under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Minnesota’s season was derailed when the St. Louis Blues forced an early exit in the first round of the NHL playoffs.

On paper, Minnesota looks to have pretty much the same faces as last season. However, there were a few changes that were made in the offseason. Let’s get caught up:

Key Departures:

Jason Pominville, Forward

Pominville spent five seasons with Minnesota. While with the Wild, he scored 76 goals and tallied 130 assists. Last season, he served as an alternate captain. He was shipped to the Buffalo Sabres along with Marco Scandella.

Marco Scandella, Defensemen

Scandella wore a Wild sweater for seven seasons before being sent to Buffalo via trade. He scored 27 goals and recorded 62 assists. Scandella has been with the organization for so long that for some people, it may have been hard to say good-bye, but was no means a star for this team.

Darcy Kuemper, Goalie

Kuemper decided to take his talents elsewhere, signing with the Los Angeles Kings during the offseason. Last season, Kuemper played in 18 games and had a  8-5-3 record. In his five seasons with the Wild, he posted a 2.60 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

Erik Haula, Forward

The toughest one to say goodbye to would probably be Haula. The University of Minnesota alum played four seasons with the Wild. He managed to participate in 266 games, posting a total of 89 points. He fell victim to the NHL Expansion Draft and the Las Vegas Golden Knights swiped him up.

Key Additions:

Tyler Ennis, #63,  Forward

Ennis was acquired from the trade that sent Scandella and Pominville to Buffalo. However, Ennis hasn’t had the best couple of seasons. In his last two seasons, he has only managed to tally 24 points in 74 games. Looking back a few years is what the Wild front office and coaching staff wants to see out of him. During his 2014-2015 season he recorded 20 goals and 26 assists.

Marcus Folingo, #17, Forward

Folingo was the other half that was brought over from Buffalo. Folingo will be a good addition to have on the 3rd or 4th line. Last season, Folingo played in 80 games and scored 13 goals and 10 assists. Folingo, like Ennis, spent his entire professional career in Buffalo.

Matt Cullen, #7, Forward

More from Sporting Sota

The St. Cloud University alum and Virginia, MN native is returning to his home state for his 19th season in the NHL. Cullen just won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He has played in 1,366 NHL games over the course of his career. On the ice, it seems like Cullen isn’t slowing down. Last season, Cullen scored 13 goals and 18 assists in 72 games.

Across the ice, for the season opener:

Jimmy Howard will start in net for the Red Wings home opener. Howard only started in 24 games last season, missing most of the year due to a sprained right medial collateral ligament. He posted a 10-11-1 record, a 2.10 GAA and a save percentage of .927.

Next: Five things we learned in the Vikings loss to Detroit

The first regular season NHL game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI will be this season opener. Puck drops at 6:30 p.m on Thursday.