Welcome to the first installment of Minnesota Wild news and rumors. These will keep you updated on the latest news, rumors, and updates on the Wild.
This first article features fans returning to Xcel Energy Center, Bryce Misely’s tryout contract, Marcus Foligno injury, Kaprizov’s hat trick, and Zach Parise’s healthy scratch.
Item #1: Fans Returning To Xcel Energy Center
It was announced a few days ago that the Wild will be welcoming fans back into the building. The first game back will be on Monday, April 5 against the Colorado Avalanche, when the team will welcome a maximum of 3,000 fans back into the building. The Wild are now going to be the latest team to allow fans back into the arena.
“Our organization has spent a tremendous amount of time and energy working in collaboration with Governor Walz and his staff, the Minnesota Department of Health as well as the other professional sports teams in town to make sure the protocols we have in place will allow our passionate fans the ability to watch Wild games in a safe and enjoyable manner. We have truly missed the energy and excitement our fans bring to Xcel Energy Center,” said Wild President Matt Majka.Via NHL.com
Wild season ticket holders will be given priority to purchase tickets to the upcoming games. Xcel Energy Center launched a new health and safety guidelines and information area in the arena – its purpose is to serve as guidance around safety protocols, health screenings, face coverings, and much more.
Wild fans have waited for this day to come, as it will be the first time for fans to see budding star Kirill Kaprizov in person. The Wild have won seven of their last games at home and they will look to keep that rolling as fans return.
Item #2: Bryce Misely Signs Tryout Contract
The Wild signed Bryce Misely to an amateur tryout with the AHL affiliate Iowa Wild. He was Minnesota’s fourth-round draft pick in 2017. He recently finished his senior year as a forward for the University of Vermont. Misley, 21, is a center and served as Vermont’s alternate captain last season.
He registered a goal and two assists in 13 games this past season. Over his four years with the Catamounts, he notched 8 goals, 14 assists, and 22 points in his entire 109-game collegiate career. The 21-year-old is 6-foot-1 and weighs 195 pounds.
Item #3: Marcus Foligno Injury
Marcus Foligno is off to the best start of his career, which makes it very disappointing that he will miss some time. The veteran winger will be out at least a few weeks for the Wild – he sustained an injury in the first period of Friday night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.
The puck came off Jonas Brodin’s stick and hit Foligno’s skate. Foligno was immediately in discomfort and didn’t return to the game. According to Michael Russo of the Athletic, Foligno left Xcel Energy Center with crutches and a walking boot.
It truly comes at a terrible time as he has been one of the Wild’s best forwards this season. The 29-year-old veteran has 7 goals and 16 points in 23 contests. He’s been an excellent two-way forward for Minnesota this season.
Item #4: Kirill Kaprizov Hat Trick
Kirill Kaprizov scored his first career hat trick on Friday night. He becomes only the second rookie in franchise history to record a hat trick. The other player was Justin Fontaine back in 2014, also against the Arizona Coyotes. Likewise, Kaprizov becomes only the third player in franchise history to record a hat trick in a single period. The others were Jason Zucker back in 2016 and Zach Parise in 2017.
Furthermore, his eight shots on goal ties the rookie high in franchise history. He’s been the best player Minnesota has witnessed since the days of Marian Gaborik. Kaprizov has truly been sensational this season and the Wild need to sign him long-term.
Item #5: Zach Parise Healthy Scratch
Earlier this month, Zach Parise was scratched for only the second time in his career and his first as a member of the Wild. It was definitely a shock and not something anyone was expecting, but it was a card that head coach Dean Evason thought he needed to play after Parise’s disappointing season that featured poor decision-making in the Vegas Golden Knights’ 5-4 comeback victory.
Parise’s play has been very poor so far this season and it has not only become problematic but very concerning. It is most definitely something to monitor as to whether this is just a poor start to the season or the start of his decline. The 36-year-old still has four years remaining on his contract. His underlying numbers and lack of production have hurt the Wild despite their success from the youth.
The Wild losing Marcus Foligno for several weeks is a huge loss. In a shortened season, it is even worse than normal. He is integral to the Wild’s penalty kill and is one of their most physical players. Looking ahead, players will have to step up. It is unfortunate and disappointing that it occurred during Foligno’s best start to a season in his career.
Aaron Heckmann covers the Wild for The Hockey Writers & Zone Coverage. His data-driven articles are focused on solving problems, telling stories, and discovering unique storylines. Find him on Twitter @aaron_heckmann.