The Minnesota Wild have tried a lot of different things and spent plenty of money since returning to the playoffs in 2012-13, but the story seems to end the same, unpleasant way.
In the past five playoff runs, they’ve never won more than a single series. They’ve now been bounced in the first round two years in a row.
Sure, they went down fighting. And, yes, Bruce Boudreau helped young stars rise and veterans find new life. But an early end to the postseason means that many will dismiss all of those positives in the grand scheme of things.
Indeed, the Wild swung for the fences, paying a big price for Martin Hanzal as the West seemed open. They were right about the conference being more ripe for the picking than any time since they became competitive again … but it seems that the Wild overestimated their chances at making a deep run.
Now they have to deal with that all-too-familiar empty feeling.
With key young players such as Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter needing new deals, Martin Hanzal ranking among veterans becoming UFAs and the expansion draft putting a quality player in danger of being plucked away, it’s likely that next year’s team could look different even if management stays in place.
If this was Minnesota’s big chance, then the bottom line is that they whiffed on it.