The Minnesota Wild open the Detroit Red Wings' new arena Thursday night, before heading to Raleigh to take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the first game of the season on FOX Sports North.
And while they may not have made many big offseason moves, this Wild roster could look a little different this season thanks to a group of young players with the potential to break out.
From prospects like Luke Kunin and Mike Reilly to established players like Matt Dumba, we're taking a look at the Wild players we think are primed for a big season.
Check out our top breakout candidates of the 2017-18 season.
Matt Dumba, defenseman
The Wild made a costly move to protect this promising young defenseman from the expansion draft, giving up prospect Alex Tuch and versatile forward Erik Haula to the Vegas Golden Knights. If Dumba ever reaches his sky-high ceiling, the price will likely be forgotten. The No. 7 overall pick in the underwhelming 2012 draft, Dumba's goal-scoring abilities and right-handed shot make him a rare commodity in today's NHL. His numbers have improved across the board in each of his four pro seasons, but defensive lapses remain an issue for the 23-year-old.
Joel Eriksson Ek, forward
In a perfect world Eriksson Ek would step in as the Wild's third-line center and provide some key depth down the middle. He's certainly got the size to hang with NHL forwards, checking in at 6-foot-2, 210 lbs. The Swedish youngster was solid last season, appearing in nine games for Minnesota before the Wild sent him back to Farjestad BK of the SHL. He returned for the stretch run and three playoff games, finishing with three goals and four assists in 15 games.
USA TODAY SportsIsaiah J. Downing
Luke Kunin, forward
The youngest player to captain the Badgers in 40 years, Kunin signed with the Wild following another standout season at Wisconsin. He racked up 22 goals and 16 assists in 38 games as a sophomore before making the jump to the AHL, where he began contributing almost immediately. Kunin will start the season down in Iowa, but is a strong candidate to step into a top-nine role for the Wild at some point this season.
USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
Gustav Olofsson, defenseman
A two-day defender out of Colorado College, Olofsson will likely vie with Reilly for a spot on the Wild's third defensive pairing. A smooth skater who has already drawn comparisons to Wild teammate Jonas Brodin, Olofsson had three assists last year while playing in 15 games for Minnesota. At the very least, he's likely to get more run with the big club this season after making the opening night roster.
USA TODAY SportsBrace Hemmelgarn
Mike Reilly, defenseman
A fan favorite after spending three seasons at the University of Minnesota, Reilly defected to the Wild despite being drafted in the fourth round by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. Reilly has struggled to balance his puck-moving abilities with the sort of responsible defense required at the pro level, but his offensive upside remains compelling. His numbers in the AHL last season more closely resembled his college production, a sign that he's slowly figuring things out.