Minnesota Wild at a glance

MINNESOTA WILD

LAST SEASON: 38-33-11, 87 points. Finished fifth in Central Division. Lost to Dallas Stars in Western Conference quarterfinals.

COACH: Bruce Boudreau (first season, 10th NHL season).

ADDED: C Marc Staal, RW Chris Stewart.

LOST: LW Thomas Vanek, RW Justin Fontaine, LW Chris Porter, C Jarret Stoll, RW David Jones.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Mikael Granlund. The ninth pick in the 2010 draft, a cult hero in his native Finland, hasn't matched the hype with offensive production over his first four NHL seasons. But he has proved to be a hard-nosed defensive player and, playing all 82 games for the first time, posted a career-best 13 goals and 44 points last season. Granlund, who has been playing left wing on a line centered by captain and fellow Finn Mikko Koivu, is poised for a breakout in Boudreau's system.

OUTLOOK: With Granlund and fellow forwards Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Jason Zucker, plus defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba, the Wild have a young core. Koivu, Staal, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville and defenseman Ryan Suter will all be 32 or older this season, so the time is now to make a move past the early rounds of the playoffs where they've been stuck the last four years. It's up to Boudreau to guide them there.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.