The Minnesota Wild got off to a rough start this year. Despite the fact that they signed the top two free agents on the market last summer, in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild had a hard time finding some consistency out of the gate.
Coming into the season, some expected them to be playoff contenders, while some figured that there still wasn’t enough talent around their top players to make them a legitimate playoff team in 2013. Early on, they were close to proving those of the latter opinion to be correct.
With every loss, the job status of Mike Yeo began to get called into question. There’s no doubt that heading into March, his seat behind the bench was certainly getting a little warmer.
Now as we head into the home stretch, that doesn’t appear to be the case anymore. The Wild are looking like the playoff contenders that they were expected to be.
Though they were expected to challenge for a playoff spot, few expected them to make a run at the Northwest Division title, annually owned by the Vancouver Canucks. But they currently sit in third, owning the tiebreaker over Vancouver. That has to do with the struggles of the Canucks equally as much as the recent play of the Wild.
Their offense is slowly getting better and they’re a top 10 club defensively, owning one of the league’s best penalty kill unit. That play has helped them to win four of their last five games, and seven of their last 10 overall. They’re playing top notch hockey at home, having won 10 of their 14 tilts at the Xcel Energy Center.
As the season has gone on, the Wild have continued to show improvement. They may not challenge for a Stanley Cup title this year, but Yeo has his guys playing solid hockey and looking like they could make some noise this spring. He’s likely feeling much more comfortable behind the bench than he was just a few weeks ago.