Here are five random and somewhat famous players you totally forgot played for the Minnesota Wild.
The Minnesota Wild started play in the 2000-01 season, and if the current plan sticks they’ll have a spot in the 24-team playoff the NHL has put out there. Despite a solid run of playoff appearances in their history, they’ve never made a deep playoff run and they haven’t had a lot of marquee stars.
Maybe Kapril Kaprizov will be worth the wait, and give the Wild a legit young star to build around.
The Wild had some early success, with a memorable underdog run to the Western Conference Finals in 2003. Having Jacques Lemaire as their first head coach brought a defense-focused system, and a veteran-laden roster over his eight seasons behind the bench. Since then, first-round playoff exits have been the norm.
A lot of NHL players don’t finish their careers where they started, and replicating past success as their careers wind down is elusive at best. In some cases, a player reached their potential elsewhere.
Here are five random players you forgot suited up for the Minnesota Wild.
5. Cliff Ronning
Ronning played for seven teams over 17 NHL seasons (1986-2004), with his best years coming with the St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and Nashville Predators. Over his final three seasons, he became a bit of a journeyman as he suited up for four teams.
Ronning spent the 2002-03 campaign with the Wild. At age 37 he tallied 48 points (tied for second on the team; 17 goals, 31 assists) with eight power play goals (second on the team) over 80 games. He even registered in the voting for the Lady Byng Trophy.
Ronning was never a star, but his longevity overall and durability when he got older (at least 79 games played in six straight seasons from 1997-2003) was notable. And his proverbial last hurrah, before a 40-game final season with the Islanders, came in a Wild uniform.