The Wild are loaded again, starting Boudreau’s 2nd season
LAST SEASON: 49-25-8, 106 points. Won Metropolitan Division. Lost 4-1 to St. Louis Blues in Western Conference quarterfinals.
COACH: Bruce Boudreau (second season, 11th NHL season).
ADDED: C Matt Cullen, LW Marcus Foligno, RW Tyler Ennis, D Kyle Quincey.
LOST: D Marco Scandella, RW Jason Pominville, C Erik Haula, C Martin Hanzal, D Christian Folin, D Nate Prosser, C Ryan White, G Darcy Kuemper.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Charlie Coyle. With Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker, the Wild have a quality quartet of 25-year-old forwards to build their future around. Granlund, Niederreiter and Zucker all produced career years in Boudreau’s debut, but Coyle has yet to fulfill his potential with an enviable blend of size and skill. Though he had a career-most 38 assists last season, Coyle endured a 28-game stretch from early January to early March with only one goal.
OUTLOOK: In their 17-year history, the Wild have only won four playoff series and advanced past the second round just once, in 2003. There’s not much more they can do in the regular season than they did in the last one, having finished second in the conference with the best record they’ve ever had. They will be judged by whether they’re still playing in May and how far they go. A healthier Zach Parise would help. Coming off his lowest goal total in a non-lockout season since he was a rookie in 2005-06, Parise missed the beginning of training camp because of back trouble.
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