The WIld relied on Devan Dubnyk to stifle the charge at the net by opposing teams, only to see him struggle last season.
After a down year by his standards, Dubnyk has roared back to the tune of a .926 save percentage and a stellar 2.32 goals against average. The biggest thing about watching him is how calm and confident he looks this year. His positioning is back to what Wild fans are used to seeing and he is controlling his body incredibly well. He looks like a goalie at the top of his game and he knows it.
But let’s not take away from the men in front of him. Minnesota’s defensive corps has been lights out in this young season. It helps the Boudreau has started the same six defensemen in every game this year. There is a lot to be said for that continuity and stability. Jonas Brodin and Jared Spurgeon are emerging as a true lockdown pairing, while Ryan Suter continues to be Ryan Suter. Matt Dumba has even reigned in his aggressiveness and has grown into extremely talented and responsible defensemen.
On top of what they’ve done to keep pucks out of their own net, Minnesota’s D-men excel at helping put pucks into opponents’ nets. The Wild have one of the highest-scoring defensive groups in the entire NHL. Dumba is second among defensemen with six goals already, trailing only Toronto’s stud Morgan Reilly. Suter leads all Wild defensemen with 10 assists and 13 points, placing him 10th overall in points.
Up front, it’s more of the same from the usual suspects. Mikael Granlund leads the team with 19 points (9 G, 10 A), but six forwards (and nine players overall) already have double-digit points. This is the type of depth great teams have, and it certainly helps in the playoffs.
There are definitely things to work on as the season progresses, such as giving up the first goal in 13 of 19 games so far, but the early returns look good so far. We’ve all seen this movie play out before, but this Wild team feels different from previous versions. Let’s enjoy it while we can and believe this year can be different.