Every sport has that team which best fits the non-descript mold. They aren't strong enough to be considered a contender and yet they aren't poor enough to where a spot in the draft lottery seems like a possibility for them, either. In the NHL, the team that best fits this narrative is the Minnesota Wild. You seldom see them on national TV. You seldom hear about them. Quick, try to name five Wild players without utlizing a Google search. And yet, each spring, they seem to be there in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Not for long, mind you, but they are there. 

Who Do The Minnesota Wild Play Next

Playing the Wild is never a fun experience. The Wild are a beatable team but every opponent knows that it's going to take a solid effort to overcome Minnesota's unyielding work ethic. [+]

Defensive play is the Wild's mantra, first, foremost and always. They check, check, check and when they are done with that they check some more, seeking to find offense from turnovers and counter attacks. If you want to beat the Wild, don't allow them to get a lead or they will take away all the space on the ice and stifle every ounce of creativity out of the game. 

My Team's Next MatchMinnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild Game Schedule

The Minnesota Wild game schedule will feature numerous tight contests and many low-scoring games. It's the way they've played hockey since joining the NHL and it isn't about to change. [+]

But as the season progresses and things start to shake out in terms of which teams are on the playoff bubble, it's the style of choice for all of the teams in this scenario and that tends to give the Wild an edge, because they play that way all season long. It means that the deeper into a season the league is, the wiser it might be to wager on the Wild.

Results / FixturesMinnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild Standings Today

The toughest division for a team to make a move is generally the Central Division. The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues are traditional powers. [+]

The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators are a slight step behind their pace. It makes it difficult for teams like the Wild to make any headway in their efforts to move up in the standings. Unable to match the potent offense of those teams, the Wild have to rely on their savvy and guile to squeeze out enough points to make the playoffs, let alone challenge for the division lead.

StandingsMinnesota Wild

How To Make Money Betting On Minnesota Wild

The Wild started out in ominous fashion upon joining the NHL in 2000. They hired a Stanley Cup-winning coach in Jacques Lemaire and drafted an instant superstar in Marian Gaborik. By 2003 they were in the Stanley Cup playoffs, going all the way to the Western Conference final, but dreams of glory were shortlived. They haven't won a series past the first round in post-season play since that year.

The Wild have tried everything to change their luck - switching coaches, trading for scorers, signing high-priced free-agent talent - but they seem destined to be that team which is beloved in Minnesota and relatively unknown everywhere else.

A road trip to face the Wild in the midst of a harsh Minnesota winter can be equally as unforgiving between the boards. The Wild play a hockey version of Muhammad Ali's rope a dope, looking to shut down the opponent's ability to create offense, frustrating them into pressing and making the key mistake that the Wild can pounce on to create counter-attacking scoring opportunities. It isn't a spectacular style in terms of fan entertainment but it works to a certain extent for the Wild, because they always seem to be playoff participants.