Can the Minnesota Wild get over the hump this season?

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The Minnesota Wild start the 2021 season tonight and fans are hopeful that a new and young core can propel the club deep into the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Why it matters: Minnesota has made the playoffs seven of the last nine seasons, but has not advanced past the second round for 18 years.

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What’s new: Not a lot. The biggest addition is defenseman/Minnesota native Alex Goligoski.

  • Zach Parise and Ryan Suter — cornerstones for the last seven years — were bought out of their contracts in offseason.

  • The team is now leaning on three young skaters — sensational sophomore forward Kirill Kaprizov, center Joel Eriksson Ek and winger Kevin Fiala.

What they’re saying: Most hockey prognosticators predict the team will make the playoffs as a wild card or by finishing third in the Central Division. They don’t, however, predict a deep playoff run.

The bad news: Watching Wild games (and Wolves games, for that matter) won’t be cheap this year.

  • Bally Sports North, which will broadcast 69 of 82 Wild games this season, is only carried on cable or DirectTV streaming (formerly AT&T), which costs $85 a month.

  • Since lower-cost streaming services like Hulu, Sling and YouTubeTV have dropped Bally Sports North, ratings for local sports have plummeted. Twins games were down almost 50% last season.

Puck drop: The Wild starts the season at Anaheim tonight at 9pm.

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