The Minnesota Wild made the NHL Playoffs in 2023 but were bounced in round one. Despite this, there was hope for a return in 2024. Goalie Filip Gustavsson had an incredible season. Kirill Kaprizov had his usual standout performances, and Matt Boldy emerged as a high-level offensive producer.

However, it wasn't meant to be. The Wild played horrifically to start the season. And while there were some exciting moments from Minnesota, they took a step back. Minnesota has officially missed the NHL Playoffs and will now turn their attention toward the offseason.

The Wild certainly have a talented roster. That being said, there are reasons to believe the team may not get things back on track in 2024-25. With this in mind, let's take a look at two major reasons for concern regarding the Minnesota Wild as they prepare for the offseason.

Goaltending regressed hard

A hat sits on top of the goal behind goaltender Filip Gustavsson (32) after a hat trick from Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (not pictured) in the second period at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

As mentioned, Filip Gustavsson had an incredible season in 2022-23. In fact, he was statistically one of the best puck-stoppers in the league a year ago. There was hope that the Wild netminder was ready to truly breakout this season. Unfortunately, that just didn't happen.

Gustavsson posted a .931 save percentage last season but has only managed an .898 mark to this point. Future Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury has not fared much better. He regressed from a .908 save percentage in 2022-23 to an .895 save percentage in what may or may not be his final NHL season.

As we'll get into, the Wild didn't have the means to make major improvements. Their goaltending had to hold up, as a result, and it simply didn't. Now, the team has to ask itself which version of Filip Gustavsson is real. Will he rebound to his 2022-23 form, or is what we saw this year the player to expect moving forward?

Sure, Minnesota could also get Fleury back into the fold next season. The future Hall of Famer didn't exactly rule out a return for one more year. However, the team should not bank on that. And even if he does return, they can't expect him to perform as a bonafide starter next season.

Overall, the team has to be concerned with its goaltending. And they will need to figure something out before the puck drops next fall. If they don't the Wild will once again miss the NHL Playoffs and be left searching for answers.

The Wild are in salary cap hell

This is the major concern for the Wild heading into next year. Minnesota simply cannot make major improvements to their roster. In fact, they may struggle to sign their restricted free agents in the offseason. The Wild are in what's colloquially known as “salary cap hell.”

In July 2021, Minnesota bought out the contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. To be fair, this needed to be done. The two veterans were on long-term contracts with a sizable salary. It was best for all parties to simply move on. However, the move saddled the Wild with nearly $15 million in dead salary cap.

This remains the case to this day. Minnesota will have this dead salary cap on the books until the end of next season. According to CapFriendly, they project to have around $7.7 million in cap space. This will impact their ability to make necessary roster changes through any means.

The Wild are not a perfect team. They have holes up and down the roster to fill. However, they simply don't have the means to do so. They have to bank on internal player development in order to succeed next season. That gamble didn't pay off in 2023-24, and it may not pay off in 2024-25 either.