The Wild will be my upset pick for the Western Conference Qualifying Round. They’re gradually becoming a legit contender in the Western Conference, and shouldn’t be overlooked despite being outside the wildcard spots when the pause happened.
The Canucks are the No.7 seed and an up-and-down team for much of the season. They look like the best team in their division occasionally, only to morph back into just another wildcard team.
Calder Trophy finalist Quinn Hughes had 53 points in 68 games this season. Electric forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser, along with Hughes, are looking to make their first appearances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Wild have had a turbulent season that includes a coaching change and the loss of veteran Jason Zucker at the trade deadline. They caught a hot streak before the season was paused and went on a four-win tear.
Kevin Fiala, the former Nashville Predators, played exceptionally well and can be credited with helping the Wild claw their way into the qualifying round. They’re a surprise team of the Central Division.
The Wild are a scrappy team that plays a fast-paced game. On the other hand, the Canucks have a young, but raw team that may not be suited well for these unique circumstances. I’m taking the Wild in another series that takes the full five games.