StaTuesday: Wild’s Staal, Zucker on track for 30-goal seasons
The two forwards could become the Minnesota Wild’s first pair of teammates to score over 30 goals in the same year since Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston did so in 2007-08.
Through 52 games this season, Staal, who represented the Wild at the 2018 All-Star game, has tallied 22 goals and is on pace to finish with 35. It would be his highest goal total since he racked up 40 goals in 2008-09 with the Carolina Hurricanes as a 25-year-old.
Zucker is on track for a 33-goal year, currently sitting one back of his career-high 22 set last season.
In Minnesota’s 17 seasons as a franchise, the 30-goal mark has been surpassed 10 times — by just four different players.
Gaborik, who holds the franchise goal title with 219, scored 30+ goals five times — all before turning the age of 26 — and even reached the milestone while playing in just 48 contests in 2006-07.
Rolston is the only other Wild player to have multiple 30-goal campaigns. He achieved the feat in all three seasons he spent in Minnesota (2005-08), pairing with Gaborik for the franchise’s only trio of seasons with multiple 30-goal scorers.
The Wild have been close to seeing a pair of 30-goal scorers since 2007-08, however. Zach Parise tallied 29 goals in 2013-14 during Jason Pominville’s 30-goal season. And last year, three players — Staal, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund — all lit the lamp 25+ times.
But this season, it’s up to Staal and Zucker to end the Wild’s drought.