Before the season began, Mikael Granlund moved to right wing after spending most of his first four seasons as the Wild’s No. 2 center, joining forces with Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu on the Wild’s second line.
On Nov. 25, Boudreau added speedy left wing Jason Zucker to the mix, replacing an underperforming Zach Parise with a forward looking to break out following a disappointing season.
It’s a strategy that’s paid dividends for Boudreau and Co.
Granlund and Zucker are in the midst of career seasons, while Koivu is turning back the clock in his age-33 season.
They’ve combined for 52 goals this season, and much of that production has come while they’re on the ice together.
Zucker, Koivu and Granlund have generated 35 goals while playing together, more than any other single unit in the league.
JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK
Statistics courtesy Leftwinglock.com
And while the trio doesn’t generate the shooting attempts that James Van Riemsdyk, Mitch Marner and Tyler Bozak do for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they’ve been remarkably effective in the offensive end.
The Zucker-Koivu-Granlund line leads the NHL with 35 goals as a unit, one more than Van Riemsdyk, Marner and Bozak, while converting on a blistering 14.71 percent of their shots on goal.
The website Left Wing Lock lists 10 different line combinations for the Wild this season, but only one has played together more than 10 percent of the time.
The Zucker-Koivu-Granlund line is on the ice together 16.51 percent of the time, nearly double the usage of the Wild’s other lines.