How Flower’s Return Will Yield Legendary Results For Minnesota

NHL Wild

This week, Marc-AndrĂ© Fleury signed a one year, 2.5 million dollar extension that will keep the netminder in Minnesota for what will be the final season in his legendary career. Fans may remember that going into this year, it was a very realistic possibility that this was it. But instead we are blessed with Flower’s return, which honestly should make Wild fans excited because it means one of a few things are happening.

Thing 1 that’s happening with Fleury’s return is the most obvious. Wild fans get another season to cheer on one of the best to ever do it both on and off the ice. More pranks, more incredible saves, more more more more MORE! Maybe he will actually be a character in the upcoming NHL docuseries that’s in the same vein as Drive to Survive? That would be awesome.

Thing 2 about Flower’s Return

We’re gonna have to see what Billy G is up to this summer with the goalie situation. The betting favorite is that we ship Gus out after a less-than-inspiring year. My prediction? We run back the goalie tandem of Flower and Gus for a million less than what they cost this year. They had their ups and downs, but when they both play well, they’re one of the better duos in the NHL. Obviously, Gus had a rough year, but he finished strong. I think an offseason reset will be good for him. We saw what he could do with this team a year ago. I believe he and Flower can get back to that form. Now, this does leave a Jesper-sized hole in the picture…

My best guess is we see Wallstedt come up and play 7-15 games next season, whether it’s to see what the kid has or due to injury or just guys needing a breather. Wallstedt himself admitted he probably wasn’t ready for the NHL after his 7-0 shellacking in Dallas this year. Now, he did come back and play some more and played quite well, even if it was against bad teams. But the kid is still only 21 and got his first taste of beer in the NHL. Now, he knows what he needs to do to be a full-time NHLer come 2025.

Back to Fleury. Thing 3, you ready for this? Flower’s return to the Wild means that they will be a playoff team in 24-25. I know, I know, running it back with basically the same team that missed the playoffs doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

But here’s the thing.

If you take away the 1-9-1 stretch where the Wild were playing with a roster that was BELOW THE CAP FLOOR due to injuries, the Wild’s record under Hynes was 32-13-6. That’s a point percentage of .714. .714 over the course of the full year is a 117 point season.

Do I think this team is going to win the President’s Trophy next year? Hell no. But I do think they will be legit playoff contenders in the Central Division. And Flower’s return makes me feel a lot more confident about that. Having a legendary, HOF netminder is bound to make you be confident in your goalie situation.

I’ll have some more thoughts on the Wild’s future sometime next week. In the meantime, let’s just be excited about my favorite goalie of all time (and one of the best to ever do it) running it back with Minnesota.

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