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Wilderness Walk: Westward Bound

The Wild break their losing streak against the Canucks out west, the NHL is expanding in a similar direction, plus NHL news and notes in the walk.

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NHL: Minnesota Wild at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Both local and national hockey media had a little bit of a west coast bias over the last 24 hours.

The Wild went out to Vancouver and broke their three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Canucks. The road seems to suit the Wild, who came back from a 2-1 first period deficit on a pair of Jason Zucker goals 55 seconds apart in the second period, and then endured a furious finish from Vancouver in the third period to preserve the victory.

Nationally, the hockey world was focused on the Emerald City, as Seattle was named the 32nd NHL franchise, slated to begin play in 2021. Other than the excitement of a new team, a new name, a new arena and a new jersey, an expansion team in Seattle also means a new division opponent for the Wild, as the Arizona Coyotes will be moving to the Central Division to make room in the Pacific for Seattle.

It also means another expansion draft with the exact same rules as the last one. And after the stress, consternation and headaches the last one caused, I can’t imagine the front office is looking forward to another season of “who will be protected, who will be exposed?”

Let’s walk with a cover of what will likely be the new NHL team’s expansion anthem.

Wild News

Wild rallies for 3-2 win over Vancouver to end losing streak - StarTribune.com
A pair of power-play goals from winger Jason Zucker in 55 seconds in the second period flipped a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.

Wild's streaky play leaves GM Fenton unfazed - StarTribune.com
After a dominant stretch from mid-October to the end of November when the Wild won 13 times and dropped only five games, GM Paul Fenton wasn't shocked by the ensuing struggles.

The family game: Three Wild players have brothers in the NHL - StarTribune.com
By the time players reach the pros, their network of mentors, allies and confidantes can be expansive. Some players, though, have a more intense ally.

(No Longer) Puckless in Seattle

Seattle NHL expansion approved by Board of Governors | NHL.com
Seattle to become 32nd team; will begin play in 2021-22 season

Seattle officially approved as the NHL's 32nd franchise - TSN.ca

Seattle expansion frequently asked questions
The NHL Board of Governors approved Seattle's expansion application Tuesday. NHL.com answers some burning questions:

Seattle 2021 NHL Expansion Draft rules same as Golden Knights followed
Seattle was granted an expansion franchise by the NHL on Tuesday and will begin play in 2021-22. The franchise will be in the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes moving to the Central Division.

Good news: The NHL is expanding to Seattle. Bad news: There's going to be another lockout - TheHockeyNews

More slam-dunk than surprise, Seattle named NHL’s newest team – The Athletic
There was no late dramatic plot twist as Seattle became an official franchise with the ownership group on hand dreaming about the puck dropping in 2021.

LeBrun: With Seattle official, next step is to hire a GM — and try to replicate the early success Vegas had – The Athletic
Whoever Seattle hires as GM will have a hard time exploiting the expansion draft the way the Golden Knights did.

NHL adds Seattle as league's 32nd team, play begins in 2021 - StarTribune.com
Seattle is getting a National Hockey League team. It will just have to wait a little bit longer to drop the puck.

When? Where? Name? A look at Seattle's NHL expansion team - StarTribune.com
The NHL will make the Emerald City the home for its 32nd franchise after Seattle's expansion bid was approved by the league's Board of Governors. The move gives Seattle the major winter sports franchise it currently lacks and puts hockey in a market where the NHL believes it will thrive. A rundown of things to know about the decision:

A look at the NHL's expansion history - TSN.ca

Seattle NHL hockey jersey | The News Tribune
Seattle’s hockey team is going to need uniforms, so here’s a look at some of the best jersey concepts on social media.

Seattle's NHL team name: Ranking the 15 best nickname suggestions for the new hockey franchise - CBSSports.com
The Metropolitans are clear leaders, but there are some other great ideas out there

Fletch Lives!

New Flyers GM Fletcher faces pressing questions as he takes over in Philadelphia - TheHockeyNews

Dave Hakstol and his Flyers get a chance to reset and reprieve after Chuck Fletcher hiring | Sam Donnellon
It’s been quite a week for the fourth-year Flyers coach, but the team had a chance to relax during a holiday party scheduled long before the team fired and replaced Ron Hextall as general manager.

Flyers name Rick Wilson assistant coach; Dave Hakstol and new GM Chuck Fletcher make selection
Dave Hakstol knows the Flyers' new assistant coach from his time at North Dakota.

New GM Chuck Fletcher wants an improved Flyers defense
The Flyers' goals-against average, 3.52, ranks 28th in the NHL.

Tending the Fields

ROOKIES INSTRUMENTAL IN IOWA WILD'S EARLY SEASON SUCCESS | Iowa Wild
When Mason Shaw arrived last July for the Minnesota Wild development camp, he, like most rookies, had only one goal – make it to the next level.

Off the Trail

Arizona Coyotes to move to NHL's Central Division in 2021-22
A deal to move the Arizona Coyotes to the Central Division was part of the Seattle expansion package that passed unanimously on Tuesday.

The top 30 unrestricted free agents of 2019 - TheHockeyNews

Salary cap projected to rise to $83 million by 2019-20 — which teams benefit the most? - TheHockeyNews

Bourne: The all-time best and worst sticks, favourite stick stories and how they’re changing the game – The Athletic
It started with a simple question, what is the best/worst stick you've ever used? Justin Bourne takes a look at his favorites and one's he'd like to forget, plus how technology is changing the game.

The future of NHL TV broadcasts is coming, and it looks very different – The Athletic
Sitting on the couch and staring at the television screen on your wall is as much of a relic as a black-and-white set with rabbit ears. Get ready for the viewer to become an active participant.

Insider Trading: Leafs trying to be proactive with Marner, Matthews - TSN.ca

Around the League

Luongo returns from injury to shut out Bruins - TSN.ca

Hornqvist gets natural hat trick in win - TSN.ca

Lightning beat Red Wings in shootout - TSN.ca

Trouba, Lowry rally Jets to win over Islanders - TSN.ca

Domi, Price help Habs snap Sens' three-game win streak - TSN.ca

Monahan, Gaudreau tally 4 points each as Flames rally past Jackets - TSN.ca

Matthews scores winner in dying seconds as Leafs beat Sabres in OT - TSN.ca