As the Minnesota Wild’s season draws near, the team will be working on a few things to improve on after last season’s disappointing finish. Most of the team is returning with a few key holes to fill over the offseason, but they seem to have it all figured out.
During training camp, they’ll be able to fine-tune their game and make the necessary changes to the roster before games start to matter. A few players struggled last season, and they’ll be looking for redemption in 2022-23.
Dumba Needs a Strong Season
Matt Dumba needs to have a bounce-back campaign. While he did improve on past seasons with 27 points in 57 games, 2021-22 could’ve been better. He’s a solid defenseman, but he hasn’t reached his full potential since the 2017-18 season when he reached 50 points, but injuries seem to have derailed his success since then.
Dumba has struggled to play a full 82-game schedule because of various injuries. Last season was no different. Entering the last season of his contract, he’ll really have to impress for the Wild to consider re-signing him, and he might have to consider a slight pay cut.
The Wild should have room to re-sign Dumba, but they might have to give up other players who will be looking for a raise. However, general manager Bill Guerin has already pulled off some good deals, so he may be able to swing something with Dumba if he improves this season and, most importantly, stays healthy.
Wild’s Greenway has Potential
Jordan Greenway also struggled with injury last season. He’ll have to wait a bit before he gets his chance this season as he’s still recovering from offseason surgery and will not be ready in time. Last season, he sacrificed 20 games to illness and injury, and it showed in his offensive production.
Greenway had been steadily improving until last season’s string of injuries. Thankfully, his point drop was small, going from 32 points in 2020-21 to 27 points last season. He’s an integral part of the “GREEF” line, and he’ll be looking to prove he can continue to get better.
Greenway will mostly want to focus on his scoring. In his first full season, he showed a lot of potential with 12 goals, then dropped off for a couple of seasons, but found his way back with 10 goals last season. The Wild could use that higher level of production from him, and hopefully, after he returns from this latest injury setback, he’ll be able to find it.
Wild Need Fleury to be Better
Finally, new starting goaltender Marc-André Fleury also needs a bounce back from last season. While he only spent a short time with the Wild before the regular season ended, his postseason wasn’t up to his standards; he was expected to step up but struggled to do so.
The Wild need Fleury to forget about the postseason and get back to his regular season performance when he played 11 games with a 9-2-0 record, a save percentage of .910 and a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.74. His GAA was a bit high, but other than that, everything else was good.
Now that Cam Talbot is gone, all the pressure will be on Fleury, and he’ll have to stand tall for the team to have a successful season. The Wild also have Filip Gustavsson, but he has less experience and will need more time to adjust before he can be thrown into the starting role.
Wild Need More
The Wild will need and expect more from Dumba, Greenway, and Fleury, but realistically, the whole team can improve. From Kirill Kaprizov to Gustavsson, every player needs to fix something in their game, and that will be important for a successful campaign. If they can do that and maintain their chemistry from last season, they should have no problem improving on 20221-22.
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Mariah Stark (Holland) is a contributing Minnesota Wild writer for THW. She’s been covering the Wild at THW since October of 2020 and specializes in game takeaways and weekly check-ins. She is always looking for different angles to cover the Wild and dig deeper into the stories surrounding the team to help fans connect on a more personal level and to keep an eye on the latest follow her on Twitter @MariahEStark.