(This month, Puck Daddy asked bloggers for every NHL team to tell us The Essentials for their franchises — everything from the defining player and trade, to the indispensable fan traditions. Here's Derek Felska of The State of Hockey News , giving us The Essentials for the Minnesota Wild.) By Derek Felska Player: Marian Gaborik The franchise's 1st draft pick from 2000 was the team's first star caliber player; and the team's fortunes seemed to advance and retreat with his health. Ultimately, his departure as a free agent after the 2008-09 season led to a shift in management with the firing of the General Manager Doug Risebrough and the hiring of Chuck Fletcher. The fact the team was unable to get anything in return for the speedy sniper left a void both in terms of scoring and talent-level that has kept the team out of the playoffs four seasons in a row and counting. Season: 2002-03 No one expected much of the Minnesota Wild when they started in 2000. The team fielded a roster made mostly of 3rd and 4th liners that failed to stick with other clubs. With a team led by its lone star Marian Gaborik and savvy veterans Andrew Brunette, Wes Walz, and Cliff Ronning the Wild made the Western Conference playoffs with a 42-29-10 record and 95 points as the 6th seed. Despite the great season which included a number of games where the team pulled off some late-game heroics (especially in overtime that year), many did not expect much in the post-season, especially as it drew perennial powerhouse Colorado in the first round. Instead, they surprised once again and made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they were swept in four games. This season really raised the expectations of the club and the franchise has been trying to meet those expectations ever since.