3 Minnesota Wild Wishes for the 2022-23 Season

It may not be Christmas yet, but it’s still a perfect time to discuss the Minnesota Wild’s three wishes for this upcoming season. They had some big things happen during the offseason, such as trading away Kevin Fiala and shortly after that, Cam Talbot. Those two trades alone have caused the Wild to add some pretty big wishes to their list.

The Wild did make some other minor moves that will affect their roster, but not nearly as much as one of their top scorers and their top goaltender departing. They still have high hopes for this upcoming season and a long list of wishes to fulfill, but only three have made the cut.

Wild’s Goaltending Tandem Holds Strong

The biggest wish on the Wild’s list has to do with their goaltending tandem of Marc-André Fleury and Filip Gustavsson. Since the re-signing of Fleury in July, which later led to the departure of Talbot, their goaltending has been a big question mark. Now that the season is drawing closer, it’s become more of a “hoping for the best” situation.

Originally, had the tandem stayed Talbot and Fleury, there wouldn’t have been much to worry about even with their older age. The two veteran goaltenders would have been able to split the time 50/50 and had a break every time they needed, plus the team would always have a fresh goaltender ready to go.

Marc-Andre Fleury Minnesota Wild
Marc-Andre Fleury, Minnesota Wild (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

However, that near-perfect situation is gone, and while they still have Fleury, they also have a backup goaltender who is barely past being a rookie. If Fleury was 10 years younger, this wouldn’t be an issue because he and Gustavsson could split 80/20 or 70/30 and he’d handle it easily. The issue is, he’ll be 38 this season and while he’s a strong goalie for his age, that’s a lot of weight to put on his shoulders.

Fleury can handle the mental pressure but that’s a lot to expect of his body, no matter how great of a shape he’s in. While he’s going to take the brunt of the starting duties, Gustavsson will be dealing with his own pressure both physically and mentally. He’ll be expected to step up and fulfill a full-time backup role compared to sporadic starts throughout the season. Hopefully, Gustavsson’s first full season in the NHL will be a successful one, and Fleury will be able to mentor him along the way.

Rossi Steps Up Big

After Kirill Kaprizov’s amazing start to his NHL career that gave Wild fans a lot of hope for the future, this season will mark the arrival of another highly anticipated player to their roster; Marco Rossi. He was supposed to make his full debut last season, but was only able to play a couple of games before he was sent back to the American Hockey League and the Iowa Wild. He took that time to work hard and prove that he was ready to join the NHL full time as he tied for the team lead in points.

Related: Minnesota Wild in Win-Win Situation for 2022-23 Season

Rossi played 63 games and recorded 18 goals plus 35 assists for 53 points, nearly a point per game. The Minnesota Wild will be hoping he can have the same kind of production when he joins them permanently. With the excitement that surrounds his name, it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 21 years old and it’ll take a bit of adjustment when he joins for more than just a couple of games.

Marco Rossi Minnesota Wild
Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With the goaltending looking the way it is, the Wild will be wishing for all the goals they can get and Rossi is key to some of those. He’ll be expected to step up in a big way and prove he’s earned a spot on the NHL roster.

Wild Make it Past First Round

This may seem like an odd wish, but based on the Wild’s unfortunate playoff past, it’s more realistic than “win the Stanley Cup.” Of course, fans can have the “Stanley Cup” wish on their list every season but the team needs to take it one step at a time. If they still had the team from last season returning, it would be easier to expect better results even with their dismal 2021-22 performance. They had a fantastic team, but for a multitude of reasons choked when it came to the playoffs. However, they would have had time to focus and improve during the offseason to be ready for this upcoming season.

Now, with the loss of players like Fiala and Talbot, who were big parts of last season’s success, it’s going to be difficult for them to recreate that level of success. The biggest issue that has already been mentioned earlier in this article, is their goaltending and that will be the main thing standing in their way of making it to the playoffs.

Minnesota Wild Goal Celebration Matt Boldy
Matt Boldy & the Minnesota Wild celebrate a goal (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

If they make it to the postseason, that’s just the first step, making it past the first round is where it gets difficult for them and it’s something they haven’t done since the 2014-15 season. It may seem like a failure to only make it past the first round, but for the Wild it would be a step in the right direction and add a lot of hope for future success.

Wild’s Upcoming Season

After the epic performance of last season that came to a screeching halt, the Wild will be looking for redemption. They’ll have the players necessary to win but their goaltending could stand in the way. Hopefully, their goaltending sorts itself out, and Gustavsson evolves into a strong backup that can be relied on when needed. If that happens and Rossi steps up big, the Wild will be a powerful team and have the chance at more success.

Sign up for our regular 'Wild Newsletter' for all the latest.