The Minnesota Wild are about to begin the 24th season in franchise history. With debilitating salary cap hits, Wild president of hockey operations Bill Guerin's hands have been tied this offseason and moves have been limited. But that doesn't mean there isn't plenty for Wild fans to be hopeful for!
Here are three reasons why the Wild can win the Stanley Cup.
1. The Wild play in the National Hockey League
All 32 teams that compete in the National Hockey League are eligible to win the Stanley Cup. When founding owner Bob Naegele Jr. and his group was granted an NHL expansion franchise in 1997, the path to Stanley Cup eligibility began. A few years later on October 6, 2000, the Wild took to the ice in Anaheim to play the Mighty Ducks and as soon as the puck dropped, the Minnesota Wild were eligible to win the Stanley Cup as early as 2001.
As long as the Wild continue to compete in the National Hockey League, they will continue to be eligible to win the Stanley Cup. This includes the upcoming 2023-24 NHL season.
2. The Xcel Energy Center
The 200 by 85 foot sheet of ice strategically inserted into the middle of the Xcel Energy Center is measured to the exact specifications deemed necessary to host a professional ice hockey game sanctioned by the NHL. When the Xcel Energy Center was built, architects were careful to ensure that the building could accommodate an NHL team, including the possibility that the aforementioned team could, theoretically, go all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This includes installing a refrigeration system that has the ability to keep the ice cold enough to host hockey games well into the summer months, when the Stanley Cup Final is traditionally held.
The building was also built large enough to accommodate an NHL sized crowd, up to the year 2000 standards. Though the definition of "NHL sized crowd" has since changed due to the Arizona Coyotes moving into an Aldrich Arena-sized venue in Tempe.
3. Mutually Assured Destruction
Since it was first awarded in 1893, the Stanley Cup has only gone unawarded twice; the Spanish Flu epidemic put an early end to the 1919 playoffs and the infamous lockout prevented the Wild from competing for a Stanley Cup in 2005. Most experts agree that, as resilient as the Cup has been for over a century, a nuclear war could put the Stanley Cup Playoffs at risk of postponement, or worse, cancellation.
Thankfully, all of the world superpowers possess enough nuclear weapons to melt Lord Stanley's Cup down to ash at the sound of a phone ringing, some code exchanges, a few key turns and a desperate prayer to a Deity of the decision maker's choice to show him or her mercy for what they are about to do. It is theorized that the use of a nuclear weapon could very easily escalate into a global nuclear war, which many consider not in the best interests of a continued presence on Earth by humans, as well as the continued awarding of the Stanley Cup. Therefore the countries who possess weapons that threaten the future of the Stanley Cup playoffs and life as we know it are heavily incentivized to not use their respective Armageddon starter kits.
As long as the world avoids a nuclear conflict, the Wild should have no problems competing for a Stanley Cup this year. Fingers crossed!