Filip Gustavsson is a new dad with a baby at home, a 3-month-old son Vollrad who's already giggling.
"You just sit on the couch having the TV on in the background just sitting there, staring at him, cuddling him, and doing funny faces," Gustavsson said.
The goaltender also has a new contract, a three-year deal worth $11.25 million issued by the Wild in July.
"It feels really good," he said. "They believe in me, and that's why they did what they did."
When it comes to the ice, Gustavsson believes he can remain the same goalie and duplicate his breakout display from a season ago.
"It's no fluke," said Gustavsson, who made his preseason debut Tuesday night at Dallas in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury halfway through the game and gave up three goals on 11 shots in a 6-1 loss to the Stars. "You're going to be lucky in some situations. But you can't be lucky the whole way to get to where you are, and I think my game is capable of playing as good as I did last year."
Gustavsson's results made his first season with the Wild a success, and the circumstances added the exclamation point.
Acquired in the Cam Talbot trade with Ottawa in July 2022 to back up Fleury, Gustavsson arrived a relative unknown with little NHL experience. But that's not how he played.
He won six in a row in the first half, a surge that included his first NHL shutout; Gustavsson actually would go on to post the third-longest shutout streak in team history at 177 minutes, 13 seconds. Then after multiple 40-stop efforts late, he finished the season with the second-best save percentage (.931) and goals-against average (2.10) in the entire league.
Overall, Gustavsson went 22-9-7 before the playoffs.
His 51 saves backstopped the Wild to a double-overtime win in Game 1 against the Stars, but Gustavsson was on the hook for three of the Wild's ensuing four losses.
"We won that first game in overtime, and it was pretty emotional, [a] nice feel to win that," said Gustavsson, who before last season was mostly in the minors with the Senators after a trade from the Penguins. "Then as soon as it's over, you have to let it go in a way and focus on the next game because next game we lost right away.
"Really work on leaving those games behind and looking for the next one and stop living in the past."
Still, Gustavsson's contributions made him a key factor for the Wild, and they compensated him as such — the two sides finalizing his contract only days before an arbitrator would have intervened.
That deal has Gustavsson, 25, returning with more clarity than he had a year ago, but stability doesn't guarantee starts.
Performance will determine whether Gustavsson or Fleury is in the Wild crease, and that's fine by Gustavsson.
"It's perfect," he said. "You're going to have that competitiveness instead of having a No. 1 that can play bad and the other goalie gets frustrated because he doesn't play because the other guy plays bad. Now, you have to compete and if you play good, you play, and that works out for everyone."
How does Gustavsson vie to stay in the crease?
With an encore.
"They pay me for what I did last year, so they expect the same thing as last year," Gustavsson said. "It's going to be hard to get about 93 percent [in save percentage] for a whole season, but that's what you try for. That's what you're aiming for. Hopefully it's going to be good."