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Fanspeak: Gaborik voted greatest player in Wild franchise history

Aug 13, 2014, 5:22 PM EDT


This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Minnesota Wild

1. Marian Gaborik (371)

2. Mikko Koivu (229)

3. Zach Parise (176)

4. Wes Walz (62)

5. Andrew Brunette (53)

6. Niklas Backstrom (31)

He’s the greatest goalscorer in Minnesota Wild history, and now he tops this list.

Marian Gaborik — drafted third overall in 2000 by the Wild — spent his first eight NHL seasons in Minnesota and produced some of the greatest highs in the club’s infancy. In 2002-03, the 20-year-old Slovak led the team to its first-ever playoff appearance on the strength of a 30-goal campaign, then put forth a remarkable postseason in which he scored 17 points in 18 games, leading the Wild all the way to the Western Conference Final.

(That spring, Gaborik finished one point shy of the playoff scoring lead — shared by New Jersey’s Jamie Langenbrunner and Scott Niedermayer — even though the Devils’ duo played in six more games.)

In 2007-08, Gaborik recorded the greatest offensive campaign in franchise history: 42 goals and 83 points, finishing seventh in the Rocket Richard race and 11th in Hart Trophy voting.

Gaborik was an original Wild that made his rookie debut (at 18) during the team’s inaugural campaign, but his time in Minnesota wasn’t entirely rosy. He missed the first month of the 2003-04 campaign to a contract holdout and spent much of his last season injured, appearing in just 17 games. It’s possibly why voting was so split.

  1. lowenni - Aug 13, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Always wondered what kind of career numbers Gaborik could have if he hadn’t spent most of his career in such tight defensive systems early in Minnesota and then in New York–and his numbers are still vey impressive. His season-to-season numbers are definitely up and down but I’ve always liked the guy. Glad he got to lift the Cup with LA this season.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      As it is, he’s one of only two active NHL players* with a 5 goal game. That’s a Wild record that won’t soon fall.
      (*Johan Franzen the other.)

  2. wutangwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    What! No Martin Skoula??

  3. bullwinkle88 - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    That is a pretty weak group of “stars”. They should have included the old North Stars. They did have some true stars on their team.

    • fightingwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      This is The WILD history, not the No-Stars who shot to Dallas.

      • bullwinkle88 - Aug 13, 2014 at 8:49 PM

        The Wild have a history?

      • fightingwild - Aug 13, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        Yep, 13 years worth even. Not a lot of highlights but they did end Patrick Roys career. Was rare team to come back from 3-1 deficit to win series, twice in same year… They are not glorious yet but by god someday they shall be!

  4. chief361 - Aug 13, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    ask us this question in three years and this will definitely be parise or suter. until then, gabby was really the only choice. glad he was able to win a cup. not so glad it was with the kings.

  5. florida76 - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Even adding the North Stars to the equation, Minnesota has made a paltry NHL footprint going back to 1967. Only two Cup Final appearances, and few great players.

    Minnesota has so far to go to be considered in the same class with multiple winning Cup franchises.

    • lordfletcher - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      So do about 20 other clubs


    • purpleguy - Aug 13, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Correct on the MN pro teams not having a significant historical impact; however, incorrect on the State of MN’s historical imprint on pro hockey, which has been significant given the coaches and players from the state of MN.

  6. chrisk61 - Aug 14, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    wild had a good yr last yr. but it takes 2 data pts to make a trend. let’s see them match last yr or improve.

  7. peter845 - Aug 16, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    Where’s Paulie Demitra? Gabby would have never scored those goals! Don’t get me wrong, I like Gabby! But Demitra was more valuable player than Parise…

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