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A Minnesota Wild Makeover for the 2020-21 NHL Season

Wild GM Bill Guerin made a stamp on his Minnesota roster this offseason.

It is quite clear that Minnesota GM, Bill Guerin was on a mission to make an imprint on his roster this offseason. The resulting alterations will undoubtedly give the Wild a brand-new look in 2021. The big question in the Twin Cities will be whether the new version of the Wild will be a better club moving forward.

Related: Minnesota Wild Have Shifted Direction on Matt Dumba Trade

Leadership Losses

Two of the most notable changes Guerin made were addressing two different groups – the forward and leadership groups. It was really no secret that Bill Guerin was going to mark this changing of the guard by choosing not to re-sign long time captain Mikko Koivu. The former face of the Wild franchise, Koivu eventually signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mikko Koivu Wild
Mikko Koivu now in Columbus as a member of the Blue Jackets

As the decision about Koivu was being made public, Guerin then traded alternate captain — and NHL veteran of 1240 games — Eric Staal to the Buffalo Sabres. In exchange, the Wild did get a once productive player in Marcus Johansson, however, this means the Wild lose a big chunk of leadership. It also leaves some holes down the middle (at center).

Additional Alterations

With the defensive unit intact, for now, the other changes up front were the additions of NHL veterans Nick Bjugstad and Nick Bonino. Those two players might be able to help up the middle, but likely not in a top-six role.

Nick Bonino – now a member of the Minnesota Wild

The two additional new forwards for the Wild are highly anticipated prospects Kirill Kaprizov and Marco Rossi. My guess is that the expectation for Kaprizov is he makes an immediate impact (on the wing) while Rossi – fresh off the 2020 draft – will be given a longer development period. However, all reports on Rossi is that he too should blossom into an impact player sooner rather than later.

Lastly, the Wild performed a bit of a goalie swap when they traded Devan Dubnyk to the San Jose Sharks, and the Wild then signed UFA Cam Talbot. Dubnyk clearly lost his way in Minnesota so the Wild created a tandem of 33-year-olds with Talbot and Alex Stalock sharing the crease.

All in all, the Wild should have a very strong defensive unit, but it will be an entirely new look up front – only time will tell whether the Guerin blueprint is going to work.

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