The Minnesota Wild have among the worst odds to win the Stanley Cup in 2018, but here’s why they will shock the world and pull it off.
Of all the teams to make the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2018, there is perhaps no team that’s being discounted more than the Minnesota Wild. According to Odds Shark, their odds of winning the Cup are at +3000.
Look, we get it. They’re facing the white-hot Winnipeg Jets, who have won 11 of their last 12, in the first round. Minnesota sports is desolate enough from a historical perspective, but they’ve had a rough go of things this year. Few will forget how the Vikings laid down and died when they had a chance to host the Super Bowl, and the Timberwolves might miss the playoffs after getting off to a hot start. As for the Twins…don’t get us started.
But the Wild have been heavy underdogs in the playoffs before only to rise to the occasion. Their win over the Colorado Avalanche when they were the third best team in the league is hard to ignore. They have a 40-goal scorer on their team, against all odds, one of the better goalies in the league, forward depth and bonafide playoff experience on their roster.
Most importantly, they’ll be much looser than teams like the Jets who, as a franchise, have yet to win a playoff game and the Predators who won’t accept anything less than a Stanley Cup Finals appearance. The Stanley Cup playoffs are truly an environment where anyone can win, so why not the Wild?
5. Devan Dubnyk is an upper echelon goaltender
Devan Dubnyk doesn’t get enough credit as a high-level goalie. Aside from when he joined the Wild and became a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, his contributions to the team have been largely unheralded.
Dubnyk deserves a lot of praise for resurrecting his career on the Wild after the rest of the league left him for dead. This season, he hasn’t missed a beat. For the third straight season, he has posted a save percentage of at least .918, won 30 games and recorded five shutouts.
Normally, Minnesota’s defense core is stingy enough to keep Dubnyk’s workload down, but it heads into the playoffs banged up. As far as a last line of defense, though, you won’t find many playoff goalies that are more reliable. He’s capable of standing on his head and winning games by himself if need be. But his workload is down compared to his last two seasons, so they won’t have to rely on him as much.