Blackhawks beat writer picks the Wild to be in the Stanley Cup

Things aren't looking great in Chicago.
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The Blackhawks have bounced the Wild from the playoffs three times this decade.

The Blackhawks have bounced the Wild from the playoffs three times this decade.

The Chicago Blackhawks enter the upcoming season with a bit of uncertainty.

They traded away one of the best young talents in the game, Artemi Panarin, and goaltender Corey Crawford is coming off his worst season yet.

Chicago – just like the Wild – bowed out from the playoffs in the first round last year, and their own beat writer, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun, believes it's the Wild's turn to make a Stanley Cup run.

Lazerus picked Minnesota to win the division and he also penciled them into the Stanley Cup Final – where they'll fall to the Tampa Bay Lightning, he predicts. Here's what he had to say about Minnesota:

Coach Bruce Boudreau is basically a guaranteed 100-point regular season — and a guaranteed playoff flameout. Will this finally be the season he breaks through? He has the team to do it, with a deep group of forwards, two solid defensive pairs and an excellent goalie in Devan Dubnyk. If not now, when?

He makes a good point because Minnesota has all the tools: Boudreau's winning pedigree, a talented group of forwards taking the next step, a deep defensive core and a brick wall between the pipes in Devan Dubnyk.

Related: 4 reasons you should be excited about this year's Wild team.

According to, the Wild have the fifth-best odds to win the Stanley Cup, while Chicago has the third best.

The Central Division is a meat grinder as teams like Minnesota, Chicago, Dallas, Nashville and Winnipeg are all vying for playoff spots.

As long as the Wild stay healthy they should have as a good a shot to make a deep run in the playoffs.

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