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Report: Wild’s Zuccarello to miss start of 2020-21 NHL season

Wild Zuccarello

ST PAUL, MINNESOTA - JANUARY 05: Mats Zuccarello #36 of the Minnesota Wild controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the game at Xcel Energy Center on January 5, 2020 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Flames defeated the Wild 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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It appears as if the Minnesota Wild will not have one of their top forwards, Mats Zuccarello, when the 2020-21 NHL season begins.

According to the Athletic’s Michael Russo, Zuccarello will be sidelined for the start of the season -- and perhaps longer -- after undergoing arm surgery a few weeks ago. Russo reports it is the same arm that Zuccarello broke two years ago shortly after he was traded to the Dallas Stars. The issue this time around is a torn ligament that caused discomfort throughout the 2019-20 season.

The 33-year-old winger is in the second year of a five-year, $30 million contract that he signed in free agency before this past season.

That signing was one of the last moves made by former general manager Paul Fenton.

[Related: Wild need Kaprizov, Fiala, Talbot to be difference makers]

In Zuccarello’s first year with the Wild he finished with 15 goals and 37 total points in 65 games. He recorded just one assist in four postseason games during the qualifying round.

That production was a noticeable decline from his previous seasons. Even though it may not have been what the Wild had entirely hoped for, it is still a significant loss in the short-term as he was one of the Wild’s top offensive players. The only returning forwards on the team that finished the season with more points than Zuccarello are Kevin Fiala and Zach Parise.

The Wild will have a lot of new faces in its lineup this season, with Eric Staal, Mikko Koivu, Devan Dubnyk, and Ryan Donato all moving on to new teams.

In their place will be Cam Talbot, Nick Bonino, Marcus Johansson, and prized prospect Kirill Kaprizov. The Wild will need Kaprizov and Talbot to be impact players if they are going to bounce back.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.