Wild headed into 2015-16 season thinking, 'we're a contender'


Despite bowing out in the second round of the playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks, optimism is high for the 2015-16 Minnesota Wild.

NHL.com profiled the Wild in its ongoing "30 in 30" series, where one team is profiled every day during the month of August. Head to NHL.com on Thursday and the site essentially belongs to the Wild, with a number of storylines the league is following right now.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com is really high on the Wild. He's predicting Minnesota will win the Central Division, which he called the toughest division in the league, and contend for a Stanley Cup.

Wild coach Mike Yeo believes the Wild can contend for the Cup, too.

"We think we're competitive, we think we're a contender," Yeo said, via Wild.com. "But our League is so tough that I think it would be complete ignorance on our part if we thought that we weren't going to have to work and compete extremely hard and face some tough times next season just to make the playoffs again. That's the reality of our League and playing in the Western Conference, and playing in our division. We know we're going to have to be at our best and we won't be able to get away with anything less than that."

Minnesota started slow last season before finishing the season 28-9-3 following a trade for goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who signed a six-year extension with the Wild this off-season.

Whether Dubnyk is the real deal is one of three critical questions the Wild need to answer, per NHL.com. The other questions are who will step up at center and start putting points on the board, and can the Wild improve on last year's power play, which finished 27th in the league.

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