NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Minnesota Wild.
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1. Topping 40
Eric Staal scored 42 goals last season, tying the Wild's single-season record set by Marian Gaborik in 2007-08.
Staal is one of seven active NHL players to score 40 goals at least three times. The center's previous 40-goal season was in 2008-09 with the Carolina Hurricanes. The nine-season gap between 40-goal seasons is the second longest in NHL history behind Gordie Howe, who scored 44 goals for the Detroit Red Wings in 1968-69, 12 seasons after leading the NHL with 44 in 1956-57.
Staal also has excellent shot-based metrics. During the past five seasons with the Hurricanes, New York Rangers and Wild, shot attempts at 5-on-5 went from 48.68 percent to 53.16 percent for his team when he was on the ice. That results in a Relative SAT of plus-4.48 percent that ranks 31st among the 646 forwards to play at least 50 NHL games during that time.
Video: 31 in 31: Minnesota Wild 2018-19 season preview
2. Topping 40, take two
There are seven players who have scored at least 40 shootout goals since the tiebreaker was introduced in the 2005-06 season. Five of them are active in the NHL, and two play for the Wild.
Zach Parise is tied for third with 42 goals in 102 attempts (41.2 percent). Mikko Koivu is fifth with 41 goals in 104 attempts (39.4 percent).
Since Parise signed with the Wild as a free agent July 4, 2012, the Wild rank fifth in scoring percentage (36.3) in the shootout. This advantage has been partially negated by a .649 shootout save percentage that ranks 28th in the NHL. Minnesota is 25-20 in shootouts since the start of the 2012-13 season.
3. Topping 50
The Wild were one of three teams with two defensemen who scored at least 50 points last season (Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs).
Ryan Suter tied his NHL career high set in 2015-16 with 51 points (six goals, 45 assists) in 78 games, which was tied for 17th among defensemen. Matt Dumba had 50 points (14 goals, 36 assists) in 82 games, which was 19th.
Video: Ryan Suter is named No. 14 on the list
One of the keys to scoring was ice time. Dumba's average ice time per game increased from 20:20 in 2016-17 to 23:49 last season, the ninth biggest increase among defensemen. Suter's average of 26:47 ranked second behind Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings (26:50). Suter fractured his right ankle March 31 and missed the final week of the regular season and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is expected to be ready for the start of this season.
Minnesota's defensemen combined for 200 points (42 goals, 158 assists) in 2017-18, which ranked second to Nashville (206).