Canucks: How does the offense stack up against the Wild?

SAINT PAUL, MN - JANUARY 12: Tyler Myers #57 of the Vancouver Canucks defends Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on January 12, 2020 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
SAINT PAUL, MN - JANUARY 12: Tyler Myers #57 of the Vancouver Canucks defends Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on January 12, 2020 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Wild’s best forwards

1. Eric Staal 

A change of scenery has turned out to be the key to Staal’s ongoing success this late in his career. He just completed his fourth season in a Minnesota Wild uniform, and I have to admit, he’s aged like a fine wine, much better than I would have originally thought.

Although the 42-goal version of himself from two years ago is likely in the rearview, his 47 points (19 goals, 28 assists) this season proves he’s still capable of being the man who needs to take care of business. He shouldn’t be underestimated, but with that being said, when it comes down to it, the Canucks best forwards should still be able to outplay the aging Staal.

2. Kevin Fiala

Kevin Fiala finally bounced back to be the player the Wild knew he could be. At 23-years-old, Fiala surpassed Ryan Suter and took over as the Wild’s newest points leader. The Switzerland native recorded an impressive 23 goals and 54 points in 64 games this season playing on the top line.

Playing on the right side of two veterans with a combined 31 NHL seasons, and more than 1800 points, Fiala is striving and shouldn’t take his foot on the gas. The Wild have an aging core, and Fiala is next in line for the passing of the torch, and his performance in this play-in series will be a good way to prove he can measure up.

3. Zach Parise

It’s been more than 10 years since Zach Parise was a 90-point player in the National Hockey League. However, Parise is still one of Minnesota’s most relied on players. 25 goals this year may not be the 45-50 he used to be capable of, but it was enough to make that his 10th season with at least 20 goals.

At 35, Parise is slowing down but is still experienced enough to cover up the holes that age begin to show in hockey. His 47 points finished 4th amongst Wild skaters, and Parise still has what it takes to keep up and be a positive contributor within the Wild’s top-six. He may not be 25, fresh and young, but he’s one of the best Minnesota’s got.

4. Mats Zuccarello

Even though he’s been a 20 goal-scorer just once over the span of his 10-year NHL playing career, Mats Zuccarello is an exceptional top-six contributor. Averaging 15:57 in ice-time over his first season with Wild (which is a fair amount less than when he was playing in New York), Zuccarello still managed to pot 15 goals and 37 points.

He’s four years removed from being a 60 point player, and he’ll need to elevate his game back to those heights if he wishes to help himself and the Wild fight against the Canucks’ infinite amount of scorers.

Final thoughts

When you put everything out on the table in front of you, it becomes crystal clear that the Canucks have a very distinct advantage over the Wild offensively. Throw the best player that the Wild have on their roster at the Canucks, and they simply can’t keep up. Any player inside the Canucks top-six could handle themselves against the Wild’s best forward.

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Minnesota may hold the advantage in terms of age and playoff experience, but that’s it. With the Canucks youth having fresh legs, clear heads, and multiple players who know how to finish, this is clearly where the Canucks can earn a competitive advantage over the Wild.