There is no easy way to put this. The Minnesota Wild will enter 2023/24 in salary cap hell, with $14,743,588 in dead cap space for the next two seasons thanks to the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise buyouts from a couple of years ago. There are tons of topics to dive into regarding the makeup of the team, but none can be had without starting at the salary cap.
Don’t bother hoping to fill any weaknesses by simply acquiring a high, or even reasonably-priced player. There simply isn't space. Improvement will have to come from within by subtracting as much as is added. Oddsmakers will surely take note of this when setting futures for the 2024 NHL season and odds greater than 50/1 to win the Cup should be expected.
Of course, you won't be able to get those odds in state until Minnesota sports betting is established.
Biggest Needs for Wild
The main need for this team has been evident for a couple of years and it is the need for a true top-line center. And once again, unless someone in the organization magically turns into a first-line pivot capable of hanging with superstar Kirill Kaprizov that need will remain unfulfilled. Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek are good players but is ill-suited for that role and Marco Rossi hasn’t developed at the pace they hoped for.
Matthew Boldy made a great leap for the Wild last season, scoring 31 goals as a sophomore. However, his contract goes from an entry-level bargain to a $7,000,000 cap hit, so the pressure is on him to improve yet again. He carried the team while Kaprizov was injured during the stretch run and helped get them to the playoffs, but like Kaprizov was nonexistent once the postseason started, providing little offense as the Wild sputtered out offering little fight against the Dallas Stars.
Kaprizov has carried the Wild for a couple of seasons now and can carry the team on his back for stretches. He will be the biggest factor if they improve upon last year's record.
The defense corps will see some hits with Matt Dumba and John Klingberg both unrestricted free agents and unlikely to fit in the team’s salary scheme. Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin will lead the way , and rookie Brock Faber will need to quickly develop into a top player to help cover for the likely losses of the other two.
Goaltending was strong last year with the emergence of Filip Gustavsson, and he should pair well with Marc-Andre Fleury once again once he resigns as an RFA. They should be a cost-effective solution in net and one of the teams strengths.
The next two years for the Wild come with unique challenges and competing for a Stanley Cup seems unlikely but GM Bill Guerin has done a good job of making sure the foundational pieces are in place to be competitive night in and night out. If Kaprizov and Boldy continue to increase their scoring, they may be able to overcome the lack of a top center and make their way back to the postseason in a tough Central Division.
When Minnesota does get going on sports wagering, look to MinnesotaBets.com for Minnesota sports betting promo codes.