Oct 15, 2021 - Sports
Can the Minnesota Wild get over the hump this season?
Minnesota Wild players high five on the ice.
Kirill Kaprizov is the star Wild fans have been craving for two decades. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild start the 2021 season tonight and fans are hopeful that a new and young core can propel the club deep into the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Why it matters: Minnesota has made the playoffs seven of the last nine seasons, but has not advanced past the second round for 18 years.

  • This town needs a contender.

What's new: Not a lot. The biggest addition is defenseman/Minnesota native Alex Goligoski.

  • Zach Parise and Ryan Suter — cornerstones for the last seven years — were bought out of their contracts in offseason.
  • The team is now leaning on three young skaters — sensational sophomore forward Kirill Kaprizov, center Joel Eriksson Ek and winger Kevin Fiala.

What they're saying: Most hockey prognosticators predict the team will make the playoffs as a wild card or by finishing third in the Central Division. They don't, however, predict a deep playoff run.

  • But in the NHL playoffs anything can happen, which is why so many fans are hopeful.

The bad news: Watching Wild games (and Wolves games, for that matter) won't be cheap this year.

  • Bally Sports North, which will broadcast 69 of 82 Wild games this season, is only carried on cable or DirectTV streaming (formerly AT&T), which costs $85 a month.
  • Since lower-cost streaming services like Hulu, Sling and YouTubeTV have dropped Bally Sports North, ratings for local sports have plummeted. Twins games were down almost 50% last season.

Puck drop: The Wild starts the season at Anaheim tonight at 9pm.

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