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Even if someone turned on NHL 22, it's hard to comprehend how well the Minnesota Wild have played this season.

Despite losing three straight, the Wild enter play Friday with the best record in the Western Conference at 19-8-2 (40 points). The Wild's fast start puts them on the fast track to becoming Stanley Cup contenders, but the scary part is that there are ways they can become even better.

1. Kevin Fiala starts finding the net

If you looked at Fiala's stats this season, you would conclude that he's having a rough year. He has just four goals through 29 games and in a prove-it year, it appears his value could be declining.

But there's a valid argument that Fiala has been a victim of bad luck.

Fiala ranks 32nd among all skaters with 9.6 expected goals this season despite averaging 3.2 shots per game. Although he has generated plenty of chances, he owns a 4.4 shooting percentage, which ranks 19th among players that have played in at least 10 games for the Wild this season.

Eventually, those pucks are going to find the back of the net. When they do, a Wild team that ranks second in the NHL with 3.62 goals per game will be even more dangerous.

2. Improve the power play

With an offense this potent, you would think the Wild would be dominant with the man advantage. But coming into Tuesday's action, the Wild rank 23rd in the NHL with a 17.39% conversion rate on the power play.

Sunday's loss to the Vegas Golden Knights was an example of where things have gone wrong. Minnesota registered just one shot during the two-man advantage and seemed disorganized on their opportunities.

But the power play also got off to a slow start last season. In the first 28 games, the Wild converted 8.8% (8-for-90) of their chances but in their final 28 games, that number jumped to 28% (21-for-75).

With Kirill Kaprizov over his early slump and Ryan Hartman and Marcus Foligno shoveling pucks into the net, there could be another gear if the Wild start converting with the extra man.

3. Get better goaltending

Overall, Cam Talbot has been having a solid season. He's tied for the NHL lead with 15 wins and has come up with some key saves to help the Wild get off to a fast start.

But even he could use some improvement. His .919 save percentage and 2.89 goals saved above average are 19th among goaltenders with at least 10 starts and his 2.69 goals-against average ranks 21st in that group.

The good news is that Talbot stops the pucks he's supposed to stop. But the same can't be said for Kaapo Kähkönen.

The backup netminder has struggled this season, allowing a 2.75 GAA and .905 save percentage in seven starts. Even worse, his goals saved above average is -1.48.

The condensed schedule after the Olympic break will require the Wild to ride two goaltenders down the stretch. They'll need more out of this duo going forward.

4. Pull out of the Olympic Games

The Olympics are fun for hockey fans who get to see a bunch of All-Star teams battle for their country's pride. But as the games inch closer, the risk may not be worth the reward.

China's Olympic protocols require athletes that test positive during the games to quarantine for three weeks. This added to the usual risk of injury has left the player's union second-guessing their decision to participate in the games.

There's also the fact that the NHL is already dealing with a COVID outbreak. Several teams have already had to pause due to multiple players in protocol and the Wild had Tuesday's game against the Hurricanes postponed.

Even if there wasn't an outbreak, pausing the Wild's momentum to go play in China for three weeks doesn't seem beneficial. Although it could be fun television, fans should be hoping the players opt-out.

5. Add some reinforcements

The Wild are one of the best teams in hockey but even they could use some reinforcements for a long playoff run. That will make it interesting with what the Wild decide to do with top prospects Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi.

The Wild's first-round picks from 2019 and 2020 have been tearing it up in the AHL this season. Rossi is tied for the team lead with 17 points (4 G, 13 A) and Boldy has four goals in seven games after returning from a fractured ankle suffered during the preseason.

There's a possibility that both players could provide a spark down the stretch but it's not clear where they could fit into the lineup. If General Manager Bill Guerin wants to make a splash, he could dangle either player to make an upgrade. But with the Wild's salary cap situation, such a move could mortgage the future.

It's more likely that the Wild will have both players continue to get playing time in Iowa. That development could have them ready to contribute next season but if the opportunity presents itself, their time could come sooner than expected.

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