The Minnesota Wild have been spiraling as of late.
Despite their strong start to the season and every casual observer jumping on the bandwagon with Kirill Kaprizov creating every single highlight reel with a flick of his wrist, a 3-3-2 record in their last 8 games isn’t the makings of a team that wants to take a deep run into the playoffs. Especially when you consider how disastrous their underlying numbers have been.
Through the last 30 days, the Wild boast the 26th-ranked xGF% at 5-on-5 (44.56) and the league’s worst CF% at 5-on-5 (42.26) — just absolute horrendous hockey coming from a team that has historically been well above-average in both metrics.
And while it’s not smart to depend all on one player, the loss of Marcus Foligno has directly synced up to the decent to succumbing to every opponent.
I'm not going to suggest one player can have this effect, but this is an impressive correlation between the games Marcus Foligno has missed (highlighted) and the Wild's xGF% going through the floorhttps://t.co/yFhCqNfJBF pic.twitter.com/MaIAeH1b4D— NHLInjuryViz (@NHLInjuryViz) April 11, 2021
Well, hopefully that trajectory stops and Minnesota returns to its former self.
Just hours before Monday’s trade deadline, Michael Russo of The Athletic reported that Foligno is likely to return against the Blues.
As of now, nothing cooking for #mnwild on #nhltradedeadline day.— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) April 12, 2021
As for tonight’s game, good bet Marcus Foligno returns for the first time in 16 games and good chance injured Kevin Fiala misses his second game in a row.
Morning skate’s in an hour
A quasi deadline acquisition, Foligno will be coming into a team that has really struggled to replace him in the lineup. Four ever-changing forward lines has been shuffled around as the Wild continue to try and secure some form of security against their top competition in the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights.
With the existing chemistry between Foligno and Jordan Greenway, I would not be surprised if we find them reuniting on the third line with Ryan Hartman as their center. Joel Eriksson Ek has graduated beyond the depth role he started this season with, and the powerful game-breaking trio might be put back together in desperate situations, but the offensive potential in Eriksson Ek playing with more skilled players, might be the move Dean Evason makes.
We won’t truly know until puck drop, but no matter what, Foligno is coming back at the perfect time to halt this slide.