The Wild's biggest problem isn't hard to decipher.
They rank second-to-last in the NHL when it comes to keeping pucks out of their own net, surrendering 4.2 goals per game just a year after allowing just 2.67 per game (sixth-best).
Much of that is because of an atrocious penalty kill, which at 63.5% effectiveness is the worst in the NHL by far. Of the 63 goals allowed by the Wild this year, 19 have come when their opponent has been on the power play.
So it is strange, in a way, to pick out another facet of their play, one more offensively driven, as something that must change in order to turn around a lackluster season.
But that's how much Kirill Kaprizov means to the Wild, and his lackluster (if we're being generous) start to the season has been a driver of their offensive mediocrity.
If we just look at the raw numbers — 15 points in 15 games for Kaprizov, and a middle-of-the-pack 3.3 goals scored per game for the Wild — one wouldn't find reason to pull the alarm.
But as Star Tribune beat writer Sarah McLellan and I talked about on Friday's Daily Delivery podcast, Kaprizov's play is nonetheless worthy of spotlighting.
Among the most alarming numbers, which match the eye test:
*Kaprizov has just one even-strength goal in 15 games after averaging about 20 even strength goals over his first three seasons.
*He's a minus-11, meaning he's been on the ice for 11 more goals at even strength than the Wild have scored, after being a plus-41 over his first three seasons.
*His physical play has mostly vanished. Kaprizov delivered, per Hockey Reference, 66 hits a year ago and 73 the year before that. This year, he has just six hits in those 15 games.
*Last year, Kaprizov was credited with 54 giveaways but he offset that with 50 puck takeaways. This year, he has 14 giveaways already with just five takeaways.
Whether this is just a small sample size or Kaprizov needs some sort of physical or mental reset — he was given a day off of practice before the Wild traveled to Sweden — he's definitely not playing up to his lofty standards.
The Wild need a lot of things to improve, and Kaprizov's play is near the top of the list.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Plenty of things went wrong for the Gophers men's basketball team down the stretch as they blew a 20-point second half lead and lost to Missouri. I'm not sure making freshman Cam Christie — who didn't make a field goal all game — a primary option who ended up taking the final two shots, was the wisest strategy.
*English Premier League side Everton was docked 10 points in the current standings for transgressions from a couple years ago. Not sure I've ever heard of a comparable punishment in a U.S. league.
*The prospect of the Gophers making a bowl game with a 5-7 record is unappetizing.
*The suddenly QB-needy Browns, reeling from a season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson, are reportedly bringing in Joe Flacco for a workout. Maybe they shouldn't have traded Joshua Dobbs to Arizona in the preseason?