The Minnesota Wild are an NHL franchise in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. The Wild joined the NHL in 2000.
Minnesota had been without a hockey team since the Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas in the early 1990s. When the NHL decided to expand in 2000, Minnesota was a prime candidate for a new team. The Wild got off to a good start, naming Jacques Lemaire their head coach and drafting superstar Marian Gaborik with their first draft pick. The Wild would finish in last place in their division for their first two seasons. The next season, however, the Wild made an incredible run to the Western Conference Finals, beating Colorado and Vancouver in back to back 7 game series. Unfortunately, they were swept in the Conference Finals by Anaheim.
In 2003-04, the Wild were hampered by the holdouts of Gaborik and Pascal Dupuis at the beginning of the season, and never fully recovered, finishing last in the Northwest again. After the lockout, they again finished in last place, despite impressive seasons from Gaborik and veteran Brian Rolston. In 2006-07, the Wild made a number of moves in free agency, bringing in talented forward Pavol Demitra and veteran defenseman Kim Johnsson, among others. Niklas Backstrom emerged as one of the top young goaltenders in the game, and helped carry the Wild to the playoffs again. The Wild lost to Anaheim again, this time in the first round of the playoffs. In 2007-08, Minnesota won the Northwest Division for their first division title in franchise history, but lost in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche.
Minnesota plays out of the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. It seats 18,064 people and has sold out every single home game since the Wild opened their first season in 2000.
Stanley Cups won: none
Notable Players: Niklas Backstrom, Andrew Brunette, Pavol Demitra, Manny Fernandez, Marian Gaborik, Kim Johnsson, Mikko Koivu, Owen Nolan, Dwayne Roloson, Brian Rolston, Wes Walz, Marek Zidlicky
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