Even with the season still being a bit far away, it is never too early to look at the betting odds for the NHL for 2022-23. A lot has happened since the Colorado Avalanche hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time since 2001.
Teams have made moves, players have changed markets, and teams have another year behind them to take that experience and turn it into a championship pedigree. One team that finished near the top of the Western Conference in 2021-22 was the Minnesota Wild.
What do their odds look like for the upcoming season? Let’s take a closer look at where Minnesota stacks up to the competition for the 2022-23 campaign.
Minnesota Wild Futures Odds
Though there are still a lot of things that can happen between now and the end of the 2022-23 season, the Wild find themselves in the position of contention. They finished fifth overall last season and were right on the tails of the eventual Central Division and Stanley Cup Champion Avalanche.
The Wild haven’t done much in the offseason but did see the departure of important forward Kevin Fiala and backup goaltender Cam Talbot. Furthermore, they do have a good young core but it remains to be seen whether or not they have the group needed to make a deep playoff push in a conference that has the Avalanche and Connor McDavid-led Edmonton Oilers there as well.
Kevin Fiala scored his 100th NHL goal with some style. 🕺 pic.twitter.com/emdoXfgE8m
— NHL (@NHL) August 31, 2022
Who Are The Current Odds Favorites?
Currently, according to ClutchBet sportsbook, the Oilers are ninth in the NHL’s preseason odds at +1900. They sit ahead of promising young teams like the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, and New York Islanders as well as stalwarts in the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston Bruins.
Two teams tied with them at +1900 – the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames – saw significant changes in the offseason. The Flames lost star forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau, though they did see top scorer Jonathan Huberdeau come back. Vegas, meanwhile, had to dump star scorer Max Pacioretty in a cap move and will be without starting goalie Robin Lehner for the season because of hip surgery.
It is hard to put the Wild ahead of the teams ranked ahead of them. The Oilers might not be the most well-constructed team, but they have McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, which always makes them dangerous. The Hurricanes were already deep on paper and added Pacioretty from Vegas and Brent Burns from San Jose.
🔊 𝗛 𝗢 𝗖 𝗞 𝗘 𝗬 𝗦 𝗢 𝗨 𝗡 𝗗 𝗦 🔊
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) August 31, 2022
The final four are a mix of proven and potential. In the former category is the former back-to-back champion Tampa Bay Lightning. They reached the Stanley Cup Final again in 2022, falling short against the powerhouse Avalanche. The Avalanche lost center Nazem Kadri, but are still as deep and talented as any team in the league.
Finally, there is the potential of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers. The Panthers had one of the best offensive seasons in league history only to be thoroughly handled by the veteran Lightning. The Leafs, meanwhile, have one of the most dynamic young offensive cores in the league but can’t get out of the first round.
The Wild have a lot of work if they want to jump into the top five conversations. Though he has been as advertised, a jump into the top two or three forwards in the league from winger Kirill Kaprizov would go a long way toward improving their current status.
This is perhaps the biggest difference between the Wild and other teams that are either serious contenders or right on the cusp of contention. The forward group is largely solid, though they do have one dynamic forward for perhaps the first time ever in Kaprizov.
When he was drafted, Kaprizov was a project with a lot of talent. Teams knew he would be unavailable for some time due to his KHL commitments. The Wild took a flier and it has paid off for them many times over.
The 25-year-old winger has emerged as one of the best in the game, setting just about every major single-season record for the franchise. His 47 goals, 61 assists, and 108 points are all the best marks in the history of the franchise. And the crazy part is that he may not have reached his full potential.
Where things start to come into question is whether or not they have the depth and talent offensively to challenge teams like Edmonton and Colorado which have some of the biggest weapons in the league. With Fiala (and his second-best-ever-in-franchise-history 85 points) out the door, others will need to pick up the slack.
WELCOME TO LA, KEVIN!
We've acquired Kevin Fiala from the @mnwild in exchange for D Brock Faber and our 2022 first-round pick.
— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 29, 2022
Trust On Rossi
Joel Eriksson Ek has emerged as a quality center, but he is not the top-line center that can compete with the McDavid’s, Draisaitl’s, and MacKinnon’s of the Western Conference. He is a very good second-line center at best with a good all-around game. What the Wild really need is a dynamic center that can pair up with Kaprizov and rain havoc down on defenders.
The team is hoping that can be the 20-year-old center, Marco Rossi. Rossi, the 9th overall pick in 2020, is coming off of his first professional season having played with the Iowa Wild of the AHL. He was very good if inconsistent during his rookie campaign. The hope is that he can step into the lineup and become a force with his dynamic puckhandling and playmaking abilities.
The team saw banner years for Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman and will need to see continued improvement and production from both. They have a solid if unspectacular group that includes youngster Matt Boldy, grizzled vet Marcus Foligno, and a plethora of solid two-way players.
The Wild losing Fiala hurts badly given he posted the second-best points total in Wild history behind Kaprizov. The team is hoping that Hartman is finally hitting his stride as a former first-round pick and that Rossi can step up to fill the void left by Fiala and develop into a top-line center.
Defensively, there is a lot to like about the Wild. They have a good, deep back end that is mixed with a lot of talent and styles. They are led by stay-at-home defender Jonas Brodin, who is the model of consistency and solid play on his own end. He has stepped up on defense after stalwart Ryan Suter was dealt away a few seasons ago.
Matt Dumba has all the tools to be a star in this league and continues to be one of the Wild’s best defensemen. He has the offensive flare that many teams look for but plays with a hard-nosed style, laying in some punishing hits.
Perhaps the most underrated defenseman in the league for many years is Jared Spurgeon. He is of a smaller stature at 5’9” but he makes all the right moves with the puck, a picture of consistency for the team even when they weren’t near contention.
With names like Alex Goligoski and Jon Merrill, not to mention promising youngsters like Calen Addison to provide reinforcements, the Wild have one of the better bluelines in the league.
However, they just traded Kulikov with the Anaheim Ducks for future considerations. Was this a smart move?
After this trade, they are a bit undersized, which can prove to be problematic when facing tougher, more physical matchups like the Blues.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) August 31, 2022
Right now, the goaltending situation is a bit dicey for the Wild. It is possible that they could add a veteran name prior to camp but as of right now, it is 37-year-old Marc-Andre Fleury and 24-year-old Filip Gustavsson.
Gustavsson is an average backup that is nothing to write home about. The story is Fleury. He joined the Vegas Golden Knights at their expansion with the Pittsburgh Penguins feeling that he was over the hill. He proved immediately that wasn’t the case, having one of the best seasons of his career while leading the first-year Knights to a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
At 37 years old, Fleury’s best days are behind him. He was fine on a bad Chicago team last season but whether he’s ready to be “the man” again remains to be seen. The good news is that he will be backing a quality roster, so he won’t have to be the Vezina-caliber goaltender that he once was. And who knows, maybe he can turn it on during the playoffs and deliver some of that classic “Flower” magic.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) April 29, 2022
2022-23 Minnesota Wild Projections
The Wild find themselves in much the same position that they were in last year. Top to bottom, they are a good team that can make some noise if everything goes right. But their ability to contend for a Stanley Cup is seriously questionable.
They don’t have the high-end talent or pedigree to compete with the Edmonton’s and Colorado’s of the Western Conference. They are also in a tough Central Division where the first-round war with Colorado or St. Louis can quickly derail any further playoff hopes.
Plus, they are still a piece or two away from a Cup at this point. More than likely, they will have another first or second-round exit waiting for them come spring 2023.
Credits for Featured Image: Lorie Shaull on Flickr