THE WILD WIRE | ALMOST AN ALL-TIME WINNING FRANCHISEDec 9, 2020
Earlier during this looooooooong offseason I was brainstorming some things to blog about. One angle I thought of was the all-time win-loss record of the franchise. I knew the franchise really scuffled its first five seasons, not just missing the playoffs, but routinely being in the bottom echelon of the division and/or conference. But, in recent years, the franchise had shown great progress, posting winning seasons the last four years, including a berth in the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. And make no mistake, the 2020 postseason would have seen Iowa as one of the league’s top seeds, had the season not been halted by the pandemic.
However, I hadn’t done the math. Meaning, I hadn’t actually sat down and looked at the numbers to see actually where the franchise stood.
Well, here ya go:
IOWA WILD ALL-TIME RECORD (THROUGH 519 REGULAR SEASON GAMES FROM 2013-2020)
217-218-43-31 (Wins-Losses-Overtime Losses-Shootout Losses)
I literally reacted out loud when I saw the numbers. I knew getting back to .500 all-time as a franchise was close to occurring, but I had no idea it was within one game! I immediately thought of the last game before the COVID-pause…a last minute, regulation loss in Grand Rapids on March 11, otherwise the organization might already have crawled all the way back to being a “winning franchise”.
Now, this might not mean much to most of you, but hey, we’ve been without AHL hockey for nine months now, so cut me some slack. If you’re a fan or employee of a sports franchise you want them to have success, right? Winning is always better than losing, unless you are hoping to secure a better draft pick or rooting for someone to get fired (I’m from Philly, remember?), and those two scenarios don’t have much impact at the AHL level. And considering Iowa was FIFTY-TWO GAMES BELOW FIVE HUNDRED after its first three seasons, well then, I’d say this is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. Let’s hope we get AHL hockey back in February, and Iowa can continue its upward trend. Until then, here are some interesting stats/numbers from the club’s seven seasons:
322 – Colton Beck’s total number of games played with Iowa, a franchise record. Beck was not re-signed this off-season, so it appears his time with the organization has come to an end. Remember, Beck joined Iowa on a tryout contract during the early portion of the 2015-16 season. Not a bad run for a guy who had just 3 career AHL games prior to his chance with the Wild. Sam Anas (also no re-signed) is in second place with 259 games played.
208 – The number of games played in an Iowa jersey by winger Gerry Mayhew, the most by any player currently under contract with the Minnesota Wild. Defenseman Hunter Warner sits at 199, the second-most by any player signed for the upcoming season.
50 – Most games played by a goaltender during a single season, which Alex Stalock accomplished during the 2016-17 campaign.
9 – The number of players who have played just one career game in an Iowa uniform. They are, in no particular order: Zach Parise, Greg Pateryn, Dave DeSander, Tommy Panico, Patrick McGrath, Austin Coldwell, Parker Milner, Jack Nevins and Nolan La Porte. Of note from the group…DeSander, a goaltender, made his AHL and professional debut on December 27, 2014. The Michigan native was Iowa’s emergency back-up goalie that night in Grand Rapids and with the Wild getting blown out, then head coach John Torchetti put him in net for the third period...DeSander made six saves on seven shots in his 20-minute stint. He’s currently the goalie coach for Muskegon of the USHL. As for Parise, he was rehabbing an injury and agreed to take a conditioning assignment in Des Moines. He logged an assist in his lone contest (home game vs. Rockford on 12/28/17). Way different situations for both guys, obviously.
51 – The most players used in a single season by the Wild, which occurred during the dreadful 2014-15 campaign. I can call that season “dreadful” because I was there - haha. The team went just 23-49-2-2 (50 points). That year Iowa was dead-last in the AHL, finishing 14 points behind the 29th ranked team, Bridgeport.
13 – Iowa endured a 13-game “winless” streak from November 1-29, 2015, a dubious franchise record. The club went 0-11-0-2 in that span, which included a nine-game, regulation losing streak. They went the entire month without a win, after entering November at a mediocre 3-5-1-1. The biggest kick-in-the-you-know-where during that winless month: a November 28 loss in Charlotte. Iowa led 4-1 after 40 minutes of play, only to surrender SIX, third-period goals, in a 7-4 loss. You want to talk about a miserable third-period broadcast….
8 – The most goals scored in a single game by the Wild, something they’ve accomplished three times. Yes, that’s right, we’re onto some positive stuff now! Eight is also the club’s largest margin of victory, accomplished in Bakersfield on February 2, 2018, an 8-0 win. Now, talk about a fun broadcast!
10 – The longest winning streak at Wells Fargo Arena, a perfect run from January 18 – February 14 of this past season. The Wild posted four goals or more, seven times in that span.
3 – The number of rookies who have played in all 76 games during a (normal) regular season. Zack Mitchell played in every game during the 2014-15 season, while Justin Kloos (2017-18) and Mason Shaw (2018-19) also appeared in every game during their first pro season.
69 – Most power play goals scored by the Wild in a single season, which happened in 2018-19. Iowa recorded 58 PPG in 63 games prior to the COVID pandemic pause this past season.
37 – Most wins in a single season, which has occurred each of the last two years.
10 – Consecutive games with at least a point, which is a franchise record held by Mayhew and Anas. Mayhew accomplished the feat this past season, while Anas had his 10-game point streak back in December of 2017.
8 – Number of players who have recorded a hat trick in team history. Christoph Bertschy recorded the club’s first-ever hat trick back on January 29, 2016 vs. Charlotte, while Luke Kunin, Kyle Rau and Mayhew have all registered two hat tricks in their Wild careers. The other players with hat tricks are Tyler Graovac, Jordan Greenway, Luke Johnson and Kloos. Graovac has the unique distinction of scoring a hat trick WITH AND AGAINST the Wild, the only player to ever pull off that feat. His hat trick with Iowa came on the road against the Chicago Wolves on February 26, 2017, and he scored a hat trick with the Stockton Heat against the Wild on December 22, 2018. In that game, Graovac posted four points (3g, 1a) and all of three of his goals came shorthanded!
7 – Shutouts by goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen during the 2019-20 season, which set a single-season, franchise record.
5 – The number of Wild players to wear the “C” on their jersey on a full-time basis, meaning it wasn’t just a temporary, fill-in situation. Jake Dowell was the team’s captain during its inaugural season, while Stephane Veilleux (2014-15), Max Fortunus (2015-16) and Mike Weber (2016-17) also wore the “C”. Cal O’Reilly is the only player in franchise history to serve as captain in consecutive seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19). Iowa did not name a captain last season.
- Wild Joe Radio