If you’re banking on the Minnesota Wild getting back to the playoffs this year, I have some not very good news — it could be a long season.
At least according to our “NHL 20” simulation of Minnesota’s 2019-20 campaign.
Now, before getting into the meat and potatoes, note that video games are, well, video games. Nothing about this “NHL 20” simulation is even somewhat accurate to what will occur in real life. In case you need a refresher, “NHL 19” had the Toronto Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup last season, and, buddy, that did not even come close to happening.
So, please, for your own sanity, take all of this with a grain of salt.
Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s check out how the Wild did 2019-20. When setting up this simulation, all injuries were turned off, as were all computer trades. So if literally nothing were to change this season for any of the NHL’s 31 active teams (already this is unrealistic), the Wild will finish the 2019-20 campaign with...
A whopping 74 points and a 36-44-2 record. For the first time since the 2011-2012 season, the Wild failed to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
Not great, folks!
There is a silver lining, though. Somehow, the Wild managed to not finish in the basement of the Central Division. The Colorado Avalanche (yes, the freaking Avalanche) actually had a worse season than Minnesota with a grand total of just 68 points on the year (29-43-10). And on top of that, they only finished the season with two (2) overtime losses! But that’s mainly because they weren’t good enough to force games into overtime to begin with. Still, improvement!
How did individual Wild players perform? Well, Eric Staal was very good. Staal led the Wild in goals (25), assists (43) and points (68). Mats Zuccarello wasn’t too far behind him in the scoring department with 41 assists and 60 points on the season.
Matt Dumba was expected to have a very big year, but he wound up collecting just 39 points on the season. Not bad, but certainly not what many were hoping to see from the 25-year-old. Jordan Greenway also fell short of expectations. In 82 games, the big winger managed just nine goals and 17 points.
What happened after the Wild were knocked out of playoff contention, though? Well, the Washington Capitals won the Presidents’ Trophy. Evgeni Malkin won the Art Ross, the Ted Lindsay and the Hart Trophy, Vladimir Tarasenko won the “Rocket” Richard (with 60 goals!), Victor Hedman won the Norris, Jack Hughes won the Calder and Matt Murray won the Vezina.
If you’re wondering who won the Conn Smythe, well, that went to Duncan Keith.
Yup. The Chicago Blackhawks won their fourth Stanley Cup since 2010 — against the New York Rangers, of all teams.
Feels pretty safe to say that if this were to actually happen in real life (SPOILER: it won’t), this might just go down as the most agonizing season in Minnesota Wild history. Just brutal.
The Wild did end up getting Cole Perfetti out of it, though, so that’s pretty neat.
Don’t let this “NHL 20” simulation discourage you. The Wild appear to be in good hands with general manager Bill Guerin at the helm, and a measly 74 points seems like a massive underachievement for this hockey club, even when taking the hell that was the 2018-19 season into consideration.