Jack Gonyea of Indiana University covers sports and in the following article, Jack Gonyea reports on the latest news from the Minnesota Wild.
From disappointing playoff exits to targeting three brilliant talents for pick no. 26 to three players making the World Championships roster, Minnesota Wild had a rollercoaster of a season — and the news just keeps on coming.
Jack Gonyea reports that the much-loved team has made some exciting roster announcements, signed Wallstedt, and shared their thoughts on the future. While their Stanley Cup dreams may have ended early, the offseason and beyond are looking particularly busy and bright. Adoring fans have come to the right place for the latest Minnesota Wild news.
Busy Offseason Ahead for the Disappointed Wild Players
Jack Gonyea of Indiana University reports that Minnesota Wild players conducted exit interviews after the season-ending loss in Game 6 of the First Round series to the St. Louise Blues.
Unsurprisingly, the common feelings among the coaches, staff, and players were shock and disappointment. After all, it wasn’t the ending they were anticipating after such a record-breaking regular season (they scored more wins and points than any other team in the franchise’s history).
Jared Spurgeon, team captain, told reporters that expectations were exceptionally high heading into the playoffs, and they failed to meet them. He explained how tough it was for the team and noted the dejection everybody felt watching the games continue without them.
But despite the overwhelming disappointment, Jack Gonyea notes that Minnesota Wild is headed for an oh-so-busy offseason. The team will have to deal with everything from rising salary caps to late-season injuries to acquiring new talent and beyond.
Jack Gonyea Recaps the Wild’s Season
Almost as soon as the Wild’s 2021-22 season ended, head coach Dean Evason and general manager Bill Guerin shared their thoughts with Twin Cities Media.
Guerin, in particular, used this time to predict a potentially difficult offseason, despite the historically good year the team had.
Jack Gonyea of Indiana University reports that the past 20 months saw Wild completely overhaul its leadership structure. With Jared Spurgeon as captain and brand-new alternate captains Marcus Foligno and Matt Dumba, Guerin boasts the closest locker room he’s ever seen — and yes, he’d love to bring everybody back next season including the ever-expensive Kevin Fiala.
Evason was questioned on Wild’s less-than-decent special teams, to which he answered honestly, “It wasn’t good this year. We didn’t execute well. We’re going to switch some stuff up.”
However, he quickly added that the up-and-down penalty kill that landed them in the NHL’s bottom third was the same system he used at the Washington Capitals, who ranked No. 1 in the league.
Minnesota Wild Targets Three Talents for Pick No. 26
Since Minnesota Wild failed to meet the requirements for the Marc-André Fleury trade, they keep their first-round pick for the Entry Draft. With impressive up-and-comers to pick from, the team is paying particular attention to three new talents:
Luca Del Bel Belluz from Mississauga Steelheads
Sadly, Kevin Fiala is likely to leave Wild during the offseason as data suggests the team can’t afford to keep him. Thus, finding a prospect who could become a top-six forward must be high on Guerin’s target list — and Luca Del Bel Belluz may well fit the bill.
The young buck led all Steelheads players in 2021-22 with 46 points in 68 games. He even finished second on the club with a whopping 30 goals.
Jack Gonyea of Indiana says that even though Mississauga didn’t get through the second round of the OHL playoffs, Del Bel Belluz still managed to record four points in the first ten postseason matches.
Isaac Howard from the United States National Development Team
Despite his mere 5-foot-10 stature, Jack Gonyea notes that Isaac Howard’s impressive skills could make him a tremendous left-side Fiala replacement.
He’s a well-balanced player who can score as well as assist. Hard-to-reach areas are no match for this on-ice rising star.
Nathan Gaucher from Quebec Remparts
Wild is looking to pack size down the middle since their current lineup all stand at 6-foot-1 or below. But if Guerin considers Nathan Gaucher, the 6-foot-3 prospect, that will change.
Jack Gonyea of Indiana University reports that while he isn’t the most skilled or dazzling player in the draft, he uses his size to bully a favorable game position — and has scored many goals because of it.
Goaltender Wallstedt Signed Into a Three-Year Entry-Level Contract with Minnesota Wild
Finally, May 16, 2022, marked the day Jesper Wallstedt signed a three-year contract with Minnesota Wild beginning with the 2022-23 season.
Jack Gonyea notes that the 214-pound, 6-foot-3 Sweden native led the Swedish Elite League and ranked fourth in save percentages. Not to mention he prevented all 48 shots presented by Slovakia in their match on December 27, 2021. Quite the accolade for this brand-new Wild player!