Another Cinderella story from the West?
The National Hockey League’s return to action is uncertain, but plenty of speculation surrounds the possibility to go for it in a different format. One idea thrown around is to start the playoffs with 10 teams from each conference, instead of the usual eight, to make up for the 11-13 games. While the top teams are unlikely to be affected by the change, there’s one team improved a lot from the start that just might find the suggested system favorable. Once the NHL does come back and you need help figuring out who to bet, remember you can always find NHL picks against the spread here at AccuScore and from our friends at BetQL.
The season was supposed to be another problematic one for the Minnesota Wild, with some questionable moves last season already raising dark clouds and causing the team to miss the playoffs for the first time in six years. The former contender was quickly turning to a graveyard for aging stars with heavy wallets, such as Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu and even Eric Staal and Marc Zuccarello. Trading away Mikael Granlund for Kevin Fiala and Nino Niederreiter for Victor Rask seemed strange at the time and still does, although Granlund has struggled in Nashville. Sending Jason Zucker to Penguins for Alex Galchenyuk should’ve been the last straw to sink the Wild – but the opposite happened.
After starting the season with abysmal one win in seven games, Wild already looked like outsiders. Their record after 20 games was not much better, with seven wins and after losing six out of seven games around the New Year, the season seemed all but over. The NHL odds to win the Stanley Cup were surely stacked against them. In the last 25 games, though, Wild have scored a record of 15-1-9, making them the 3rd hottest team in the Western Conference during that time period. While they looked completely out of the playoff-picture, at the time of Corona-induced postponement, Wild were only one point behind the final playoff-spot and started to look competitive, with the veterans taking charge.
While the Wild are not favorites to win anything, the example of St. Louis Blues from last season carries a long way. There’s not a single team in the Western Conference comfortable in facing the experienced Wild team in a playoff series – especially with the long break allowing the old bodies heal and feel the energy again heading towards the prospective summer of playoffs. If you want to place a bet on the Wild once hockey comes back you can get free money to bet with by signing up with a sportsbook promo code from BetQL.