Minnesota Wild: a pleasant early season surprise

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Minnesota Wild celebrates

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Don’t look now, but the Minnesota Wild are currently sitting in third place in points in the entire NHL.

The Minnesota Wild only trails a couple of Stanley Cup favorites in the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s still early, but through nearly a quarter of the season, the Wild have to be one of the biggest surprises in the NHL so far.

Coming off yet another early playoff exit and a GM change, most NHL experts pretty much left the Wild for dead this season. ESPN ranked Minnesota No. 15 in its preseason power rankings, while NHL.com didn’t even have the Wild ranked in its initial Super 16 rankings. Obviously, these are far from an exact science, but it remains rather telling that some of the top hockey experts projected the Wild to be a middling team at best.

To be fair, it’s hard to fault people for thinking that way. New Wild GM Paul Fenton refrained from making any radical changes to an aging core during his first summer on the job. Instead, he elected to make a few small changes to his inherited roster. On the surface, there’s nothing flashy or exciting about the Wild bringing in guys like Eric Fehr, J.T. Brown or Greg Pateryn. They have all been valuable depth acquisitions to support an already solid top-six.

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