It is no secret that the Minnesota Wild are a team with a lot of potential this season, but being in a tight knit Central Division, they will have their word cut out from them if they are going to make it back to the playoffs. Right now, Minnesota is finding many different ways to win, but it is no thanks to a powerless power play. At an awful 6 for 65 (9.2%), Minnesota is 28th in the NHL, and as you know, special teams is key to being successful come Stanley Cup Playoff time.
On the flip side of that, their penalty kill is among the best in the NHL, which is a big contribution to their early season success. Killing at an 87.5% rate, Minnesota is frustrating most opponents when on the kill, not allowing many shots, clogging up the shooting lanes, and even scoring a few shorthanded goals. Their three shorties are good enough to tie them for second in the NHL.
For things to change on the power play, Minnesota needs to have more of a shoot first mentality. In their first 20 games this season, it seems that Minnesota is making that one extra pass, finding them taking more bad angle shots and allowing their opponents to kill off their penalties. All but one of Minnesota’s power play goals have occurred on home ice, which makes me fear that they are like the Seattle Seahawks of the NHL, tough at home and terrible on the road. However, Minnesota is coming home off of a 2-3 road trip, even without a successful power play.
This past off season, Minnesota would bring in former player, and 2003 game 7 overtime goal scorer, Andrew Brunette as the power play coach to try and help strengthen their power play. If they wanted to improve puck possession, they did just that. It is easy for the killing team to kill off a penalty if all you do is pass it around the outside of the offensive zone. Maybe Bruno wasn’t the answer to the power play. That being said, one would think with the amount of talent on this roster that this power play will eventually get rolling, and if/when it does, it could be one of the scariest power plays in the NHL.