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Ranking the 10 best players in Minnesota Wild history

Who's in your top 10?
Mikko Koivu

The Minnesota Wild's history is one that has plenty of ups and downs. While the team started hot making the Western Conference Finals in its third year of existence, the team hasn't made it that far since and as of now appears to be in need of a re-tooling.

While there is a stable of promising young players on the team now, the Wild have enjoyed some great players taking the ice during its 19 seasons. Here, we took a look at who is the best to throw on a Minnesota sweater.

10. Nino Niederreiter

The list of Wild greats is pretty top-heavy, which leaves the bottom half of this piece up for plenty of interpretation. Some players may not be toward the top of the leaderboard in stats, but others were at the center of great moments in franchise history.

Niederreiter is one of those players. His 110 goals for the Wild are seventh in franchise history, but none were bigger than his overtime winner in Game 7 of the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals.

9. Brian Rolston

Throughout the middle of the 2000s, there wasn't too much to get excited about when it came to the Wild. One player that did show up during that time, however, was Rolston, who came to Minnesota in 2006.

Armed with a rocket of a slapshot, Rolston came to Minnesota and immediately started scoring goals. In just three seasons with the Wild, Rolston scored 96 goals and ranks ninth all-time.

8. Jason Zucker

Many in the Twin Cities were disappointed to see Zucker traded to Pittsburgh earlier this year and it's easy to see why. Outside of his lofty contributions off the ice, Zucker was a tremendous goal scorer for the Wild.

Using his speed to get out into the open, Zucker ranks fourth all-time with 132 goals and ninth all-time with 243 points. Some may argue the Wild needed more of those tallies to make a deeper playoff run, but Zucker was still a player that made an impact during his time in Minnesota.

7. Andrew Brunette

Brunette was an early fan-favorite of Wild fans and paired perfectly with Marian Gaborik during the franchise's infancy. "Bruno" ranks sixth all-time in points (321) and assists (202) and served as an assistant coach in 2014-16.

However, fans will remember Brunette for the same reason they remember Niederriter. His game-winning overtime goal against Colorado in 2003 completed a 3-1 rally that stunned the Avalanche and ignited the Wild's deepest playoff run in franchise history.

6. Devan Dubnyk

Dubnyk's success on the ice for the Wild is just as epic as the situation that brought him to Minnesota. With General Manager Chuck Fletcher looking for anyone effective to play in net, the Wild sent a third-round pick to Arizona to acquire Dubnyk.

From there, Dubnyk became the starter and instantly took off with the Wild. Among goalies with at least 100 starts, Dubnyk ranks second in goals-against average (2.41), save percentage (.918) and wins (177).

5. Ryan Suter

Suter's name may induce some teeth-gnashing thanks to his 13-year contract he signed to come to Minnesota, but he's been the best defenseman the Wild have had during their history. (At least, since they traded away Brent Burns.)

Suter's +53 plus-minus rating is third all-time in Wild history and he has a habit of staying on the ice with an average time of 27:29 (first all-time). Mix in 293 assists (second all-time) and even if the Wild didn't have the playoff success they hoped with his signing, it seems to have panned out.

4. Zach Parise

The other half of that summer splurge in 2012 was Parise, who has become one of the best goal-scorers in Wild history with 192 goals (third all-time). While that number is impressive, he is especially deadly on the power-play, ranking first all-time with 69 goals with the man advantage.

Much like Suter, Parise's legacy in Minnesota has been tainted by getting to the playoffs most years but falling short. As he continues to get older, the Wild's chances of success are still there, but it's a question of whether he'll be a part of it.

3. Niklas Backstrom

Throughout the 2000s, Backstrom was the guy the Wild relied on between the pipes. Backstrom leads Wild goalies in games played (409) wins (194) and ranks fourth in save percentage (.915) and fifth in goals-against average (2.48).

Even more impressive were his 28 shutouts as the backbone of Jacques Lemaire's defense and even as the systems changed in the later years of his career, Backstrom maintained his effectiveness.

2. Marian Gaborik

The top two on this list were hard to tell apart. If we want to go by the most electric player the Wild have had, Gaborik is No. 1 on this list by a mile.

As the Wild's first-ever draft pick in 2000, Gaborik's goal-scoring ability was a problem for opposing defensemen. His 219 goals rank first in franchise history and five of them came during an epic outburst against the New York Rangers in 2007.

Although he could light the lamp at-will, the Wild let him walk in free agency after the 2008-09 season. The Wild have been looking for a similarly electric goal scorer ever since.

1. Mikko Koivu

If we are talking about the greatest players in Wild history, Koivu deserves to top the list. After being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Koivu went onto play 15 years in a Wild sweater and his stats register accordingly.

Koivu ranks first in franchise history in points (709), assists (504), games played (1,028) and is second in goals scored. As the first player that played his entire career in Minnesota and was named a full-time captain, he deserves to top this list.

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