Nelli's Notes - New Season

New Season:

Wild have lost three times at home in the first three games, last year they lost a total of 8 games at home all season. Are the Wild washed? Short answer is no, but there is some serious concern when it comes to our goaltending and our defensive zone effort. Granted we played a team that went to the ECF last year and the defending Stanley Cup Champions. It is a bad way to start a promising season, but nothing is very worrisome until Thanksgiving. In Billy G we trust.

Players To Watch:

This Wild team has multiple players that I think will have a breakout year. To start, I will go with the heartbeat of this team Kirill Kaprizov. He is coming off a monster year so not necessarily a breakout, but I think he has Hart Trophy consideration this year. I have no reason to believe that he won't be incredible this season. He is so creative and utilizes his speed like no one else. It is refreshing to see a superstar be the first one in on the forecheck ragging pucks and making plays. He truly does it all and is one of the main reasons I am not hitting the panic button just yet. I expect him to put up 50 goals and to be well over 100 points again. Not much more you can say about Kirill other than he will NEED to carry this team when the offense is a little dry. The next player to watch in my mind is Jordan Greenway. Many of us fans have been begging for this guy to take that next step and become a legitimate force out there. He has the build, and he has the track record with his colligate career leading into winning the WJC tournament. We saw him have a fantastic season in 2021 putting up 32 points in 56 games. Wild fans know it is there, now it is on Deano and the staff to push his buttons and get him going. I think he will come back healthy and in shape. (hopefully) With that being said, his 6'6 frame is so hard to replace and we are missing him pretty bad on that GREEF line. Next up, Matthew Boldy, I want to see a year similar to Tage Thompson last season. His hands are so filthy, and we know he can put the puck in the back of the net. He has some big shoes to fill with Fiala in LA. Boldy will get a ton of PP1 time all season, so look for this kid to put up point per game numbers this year. It also looks like he put on 20 pounds of beef this off season which makes him a legit power forward in the NHL. Other Impact Players: Zuccy, Brodin, Dumba (Contract Year)

Going forward: We need to be better in our own zone. There is no way around that. 20 goals in 3 games is appalling and I can only imagine what practice looks like today. No need to panic, but it would be great to see some battles won in our own zone. There was a glimpse of great hockey in that Avs game yesterday it just fizzled out after a few tough bounces. I almost had an aneurism watching Hartman against the Rangers when he had terrible positioning on Chytil and then lost the puck battle in front of the net leading to the eventual goal. That is the shit that needs to get cleaned up. If players like Hartman are not going to battle in front of the net on both ends of the ice then they have a small place in this lineup. So many games in the NHL are decided by effort and intensity. We have been lack luster in that category to say the least. The identity of this Wild team needs to be will over skill. Don’t get me wrong, the skill players will do their thing, but the effort in the offensive zone has to be reciprocated in the defensive end as well. I honestly think these goalies can be a decent tandem for the Wild this season. We need to see a conscious effort in our end in regard to puck battles and getting in lanes to block some of these shots. As I said before, I have high hopes for this squad, we just need to get back to playing Wild hockey. Winning puck battles, going to the net, not taking BONEHEAD penalties. Kirill gonna be Kirill, lets hop on the Russian’s shoulders and win some hockey games.

Mini Side Note:

Good luck to Jespar Wallerstedt this season, hopefully he is a beast down in Iowa. If he has a hot start do, we call him up? Only time will tell....

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness.

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