For about six weeks last season, Marcus Johansson and Matt Boldy were as successful a duo as peanut butter and jelly.
The forwards led the Wild in scoring during those 20 games, each player's individual production was more than double what he'd amassed in the previous 20, and Boldy ranked among the top goal scorers in the NHL over that stretch.
Can they rekindle that chemistry and keep it going for much longer — say, an entire season?
"Why not?" Boldy said.
They're already getting the opportunity to try.
Johansson and Boldy are back together at Wild training camp, along with Joel Eriksson Ek, who centered the two wingers until a broken leg sidelined him before the playoffs.
This reunion was made possible by Johansson re-signing, the Wild announcing a two-year, $4 million contract extension for the veteran just four days after they were eliminated by Dallas.
Not only does Johansson sticking around continue his second stint with the organization, but it also gives him a chance to show that how seamlessly he clicked with the Wild (and Boldy) after a second-half trade wasn't a one-off.
"It's just going to get better the more we play together," Johansson said.
Almost a point-per-game contributor, Johansson was the Wild's most effective trade addition before the deadline last season, and it makes sense why.
He'd already played for the Wild in the not-too-distant past, suiting up for them during the abbreviated 2021 season. While Johansson felt he couldn't showcase his "true self" back then, his ice time interrupted by injury, he was familiar with the setup.
But what turned his acquisition from Washington on Feb. 28 for a 2024 third-round draft pick from shrewd pickup to slam-dunk success was his connection with Boldy.
"He's a passer," Boldy said. "He plays super fast. Skates well. Kind of makes me have to play a little faster, which obviously helps out, and I think things just mesh well. We're both creative. We want to score goals."
Before Johansson arrived, Boldy hadn't scored in more than a month.
After the two teamed up, Boldy shined, his 15 goals from March 4 to the end of the regular season the third most in the league behind only the 18 from Boston's David Pastrnak and Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon. Johansson assisted on six of those Boldy tallies and was on the ice for all but three.
"You don't have to think when you're on the ice, you just play, and then use your instincts," Johansson said. "That's when hockey is fun. I think that's the biggest reason for our success last year."
Ahead of the playoffs, Johansson and the Wild talked about a new contract.
Although he could have tested free agency, the 32-year-old chose to stay put.
"I like it here a lot," said Johansson, who had six goals and 12 assists in those 20 regular season games before capitalizing twice in the playoffs. "It's a good team. It's a good city. My family likes it. We've been here before. My oldest daughter has some friends here from before. It's not just about me."
At the rink, he's also not solo, but considering the impact Johansson has previewed so far during his return, he has the potential to be key to the Wild's performance.
"I don't care how it goes individually for anyone," said Johansson, who's still chasing his first Stanley Cup as he approaches 900 career games. "As long as the team's winning and we get to where we want to be, that's all we want."