Wild Season Preview: Added Gustavsson to help manage Fleury’s workload

The 2022-23 NHL season begins on October 7. With training camps opening soon, NHL.com takes a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions and the expected lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today the Minnesota Wild.

Coach: Dean Evason (fourth season)

Last season: 53-22-7, second in Central Division; lost to St. Louis Blues in the first round of the Western Conference

3 BUTTONS

1. Bonus for centers

Ryan Hartman, Joel Eriksson Ik and Frederick Gaudreau will three of the four centers start the season, but will they match last season’s success? Hartman had 65 points (previous NHL high, 31), Eriksson Ek had 49 points (previous high, 30) and Gaudreau had 44 points (previous high, 10).

The Wild gives rookie Marco Rossic a chance to play and work your way up the lineup. But they don’t have much depth outside the top four, though Sam Steel was signed in free agency.

2. Fleury’s workload

Marc Andre Fleury signed a two-year deal on July 7 after going 9-2-0 with an average of 2.74 goals and a save rate of 0.910 in 11 regular season games, after being signed on March 21 in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks . year-old is entering his 19th NHL season and is third all-time in wins (520). He played 56 games last season, but what will his workload be this season?

backup Philip Gustavssonwhich was acquired from the Ottawa Senators for goalkeeper Cam Talbot on July 12, was 5-12-1 with a 3.55 GAA and a serve percentage of 0.892 in 18 games (16 starts) last season. The 24-year-old has played 27 NHL games but could push for more playing time.

3. Replace Violet

After the Wild was unable to conclude a contract with Kevin Fiala, they traded the attacker to the Los Angeles Kings on June 29. Fiala was second to the Wild with an NHL career-high 85 points (33 goals, 52 assists) in 82 games. The only other player with more points was Kirill Kaprisov (108; 47 goals, 61 assists).

Mats Zuccarello had 79 points, which was an NHL career high. His previous highest point total was 61 in 2015-16 with the New York Rangers. But to be successful, the Wild will likely need the bottom six to take an offensive action.

Video: Top 10 Kirill Kaprizov Games of the 2021-22 Season

ROSTER OVERVIEW

Making the cut

Jordan Greenway had off-season surgery due to an upper-body injury, and the forward could miss the start of the season. If he does, Steel, who signed a one-year contract on August 30, will likely enter the lineup. Steel had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 68 games with the Anaheim Ducks last season, and the 24-year-old has 65 points (24 goals, 41 assists) in 197 regular-season games.

at defender, Jon Merrill (arm surgery) may miss the start of the season, meaning: Calen Addison (four points in 15 games with Wild last season) would likely start the season with the Wild. Minnesota also signed a 31-year veteran Andrej Sustra (one-year, two-way contract) on July 13; he had six points (one goal, five assists) in 38 games with the Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

Most intriguing addition

The Wild haven’t added many players this season, but will have a new reserve goalkeeper in Gustavsson. Although he has limited NHL experience (10-13-3, 3.12 GAA, .905 save percentage), Gustavsson was 11-6-1 last season with a 2.50 GAA and .915 save percentage in 20 AHL games. He should see an increase in his numbers playing for a Wild defense that was 16th in goals against per game (3.04) last season. The senators were in 22nd place (3.22).

Biggest potential surprise

Now it’s time for Rossi, who played almost the entire season in the AHL last season, racking up 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) in 63 games, leading Iowa in assists and tied for first in points. The 20-year-old has played two games with the Wild but could be the answer to their central problems now that he is healthy. The No. 9 pick in the 2020 NHL draw, Rossi missed most of the 2020-21 season after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) in January in mid-November.

Ready to break through

Addison had two goals and two assists last season, averaging 13:47 ice time per game, including 1:31 in the power play. But with more consistent playing time, he could be a key defender going forward.

fantasy sleeper

Rossi, C (average not elaborated in fantasy) — After his solid season in the AHL, Rossi is an unimaginative rookie sleeper with a chance to earn a more permanent role with the Wild this season – possibly with exposure to a high-scoring wing in Kaprizov or Matt Boldy. — Anna Dua

PROJECTED LINEUP

Kirill Kaprizov — Ryan Hartman — Mats Zuccarello

Jordan Greenway — Joel Eriksson Ek — Marcus Foligno

Matt Boldy — Frederick Gaudreau — Tyson Josti

Brandon Duhaime -Marco Rossi- Connor Dewar

Jacob MiddletonJared Spurgeon

Jonas BrodinMatt Dumba

Alex Goligoskic — Calen Addison

Marc Andre Fleury

Philip Gustavsson

Injured: Jon Merrill

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