Wild’s Dewar & Shaw Shine, Foligno & Greenway Have Trouble

This last week for the Minnesota Wild was a bit more difficult than the week prior, they played three games but did not have the winning results they were hoping for. They went on a western Canada road trip to face the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks.

The Flames have always been a difficult team for the Wild to play especially in the last few seasons. They haven’t had a winning record against them since the 2017-18 season and 2022-23 doesn’t seem to be going any better as the Flames took the first of their three meetings. The Wild did have success against the Oilers at the beginning of the month, but in their most recent game the tables turned and they lost their second in a row.

However, the Wild were able to get back on track when they beat the Canucks to finish up their road trip and even got their second shutout of the season. They were able to resurrect what was left of it and head home with a record of 2-2. This last week had some new players enter the top of the scoring for the Wild and some who need to step up their game in more than just scoring.

Wild’s Dewar & Shaw Carry Energy

While Kirill Kaprizov has topped the scoring the last few weeks for the Wild, this week it was his linemate Mats Zuccarello who took over the top spot with one goal and three assists for four points. He just snuck ahead of second place, the player who took everyone by surprise; Connor Dewar. Dewar has been successful in more than just tallying points but also in the way he’s recorded them. He tallied three points with two of them being even-strength assists while his lone goal was scored shorthanded.

Connor Dewar Minnesota Wild
Connor Dewar, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dewar has been one of the Wild’s go-to forwards when it comes to the penalty kill. Within the last couple of months, he has found ways to convert on breakaways when a man down and has helped the Wild secure the top spot in the league for most shorthanded goals (6) scored so far this season. They may be taking too many penalties but at least there’s one good thing that has come out of it.

Speaking of good things, another player that was a surprise among the Wild’s top scorers was Mason Shaw. He has been called up a couple of times this season and this last time around he made such an impact the Wild refused to send him back and he now has a spot in the lineup for the foreseeable future. His gritty and energetic style of play has been a welcome addition to the fourth line alongside Dewar and whatever other forward they rotate in, plus he’s found ways to tally some points. This last week he had a goal and assist for two points, the same total Kaprizov ended the week with. Hopefully, he can keep this streak going.

Wild’s Foligno & Greenway Struggle

Marcus Foligno is known more for his physical play than his goal-scoring but now that Ryan Reaves has joined the Wild, Foligno can work more on his offense. He’s struggled in that area so far this season with just eight points in 22 games. He’s also spent a lot of time in the penalty box; he’s already recorded 42 minutes. This last week, he played in all three games but couldn’t find the back of the net, he did however serve a five-minute penalty for fighting when they played the Canucks.

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The Wild really need him to take a step back from unnecessary penalties and focus more on scoring goals as they need more points from all around the lineup. Foligno proved he could score last season when he put up 42 points in 74 games and 23 of those were goals. However, he’s not the only one that needs to find their scoring touch, his linemate Jordan Greenway has also struggled to find the net so far this season.

Greenway has battled a lot of injuries in this short season and that has made it difficult for him to get any decent play going. He’s only scored one goal and recorded one assist in 11 games but this last week he showed some potential. He had a number of good chances but couldn’t convert, so he is making progress. Hopefully, he can stay healthy, continue this progress and eventually turn it into some goals.

Wild’s Next Week

The Wild will be back at home this upcoming week and they’ll be facing the Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and Ottawa Senators. Thankfully they don’t have a back-to-back this week after having two just a week apart. They’re also still making adjustments to the lineup due to the absences of Ryan Hartman and Brandon Duhaime but it looks like Sammy Walker, who made his NHL debut against the Canucks, played well enough to stay in the lineup for at least one more game.

Related: Wild’s Kaprizov Continues Point Streak in Win Over Oilers

The entire Wild lineup will have to find a way to stop Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Dylan Larkin, Dominik Kubalik, Patrick Kane, Max Domi, Jonathan Toews, Brady Tkachuk, and Tim Stützle from scoring any goals. On the other hand, they’ll also have to find ways past Oilers’ goaltender Stuart Skinner, Red Wings’ goaltenders Ville Husso or Alex Nedeljkovic, Blackhawks’ goaltender Arvid Soderblom and Senators’ goaltenders Anton Forsberg or former Wild Cam Talbot.

It’ll be interesting to see if Walker can continue to fit well into the lineup and if he can make an impact in the scoring department. Hopefully, this next week will be more successful for the Wild and they can add some more wins to their record.

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