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LOS ANGELES – Just because the Wild had a dud of a season doesn't mean all their players did, too.

Kirill Kaprizov reached 40 goals yet again. Joel Eriksson Ek set a career high in points for a fifth straight year. Matt Boldy overcame a slow start to have his most productive performance as an NHLer.

When those three were together, they formed one of the most effective lines in the league.

But this strength of the Wild's also exposed a weakness: They were too top-heavy, a faulty triangle offense that cratered under its stars, and that imbalance is one of the reasons the team didn't make the playoffs.

"Depth scoring, identity players, guys that drive the identity that you want, that also helps the top guys that are supposed to score," coach John Hynes said. "I think it helps the game and the team game in general.

"Moving forward, that's what we need."

Not too long ago, the Wild had this support in spades.

Almost half their lineup had a career year in 2021-22, and the team's offense ranked in the top five. That output dipped last season, but the decline wasn't as much of an issue because of how stingy the Wild were defensively.

This season, with the Wild's blue line in flux because of injury and their goaltending not as stable as it has been in the past, the team's lack of secondary scoring had nowhere to hide.

And based on what's trending in the Central Division, the Wild can't ignore this problem.

First seed Dallas has an NHL-high eight players with at least 20 goals, while second-place Winnipeg has six. No. 3 Colorado has four, which is actually one fewer than the Wild, but the Avalanche have a 50-goal scorer in Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen is at 40.

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Look at point production, and the Wild lag even further behind.

The Jets have a mind-boggling 14 players with at least 30 points, the Stars 10 and the Avalanche nine, while the Wild are up to eight. Their top five goal scorers account for nearly 60% of the Wild's offense.

Ryan Hartman hit 20 goals for the second time in his career, and the 21 by Marco Rossi are the second most among league rookies.

At 28 goals and with two games to go, beginning Monday night at Los Angeles, Boldy still could get to 30 — an impressive turnaround since he had only one goal through his first 12 games.

Eriksson Ek had never tallied 30 until this season, while Kaprizov is one of just four NHLers to net 40 in each of the last three seasons; Toronto's Auston Matthews, Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl and Boston's David Pastrnak are the others.

Despite missing nearly two weeks because of injury, Kaprizov enters the final week of the regular season at 44 goals — three shy of his career high — after scoring twice in the Wild's 6-2 victory over San Jose on Saturday night, which also included Liam Ohgren's first NHL goal.

"After that injury, when I come back," Kaprizov said, "I feel a little bit better second half of year and was healthy and start to just keep playing my game."

During the approximately 600 minutes Kaprizov has played with Eriksson Ek and Boldy, 75% of the goals scored when that trio was on the ice belonged to the Wild, according to Natural Stat Trick. Their 5.17 goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five are in the same neighborhood as the most dynamic lines in the NHL.

"There were times they dragged the team to a win," Hynes said.

If they stalled, though, the Wild too often didn't have someone else provide a spark.

Mats Zuccarello leads the team in assists with 51, but his 11 goals are his fewest since the pandemic-shortened season in 2021. Marcus Johansson has only five more goals than he chipped in last season in the 20 games he played after being a pre-trade-deadline pickup. And the five Frederick Gaudreau has managed are a significant drop-off from the 19 he had a season earlier.

"When you're not contributing, you feel like [you're] kind of letting your team down sometimes," Gaudreau said.

Being able to match up best-on-best is important, and Kaprizov, Eriksson Ek and Boldy have shown they can be a handful.

But what happens when they're on the bench might be a better indicator of the Wild's success.

"It is nice to know organizationally that those three guys can be a dominant line," Hynes said. "With support around them, I think the team can really go."