Redesigned divisions and an unusual schedule are guaranteed to make the Wild season unlike any other.
So will the health and safety guidelines.
After finishing last season in a bubble, the NHL is returning in individual arenas and that means a new set of dos and don'ts for players as they get back in action amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"We should be familiar with the testing process and the mask wearing, the distancing, all the protocols. That should not be a surprise to us," coach Dean Evason told the Star Tribune on Tuesday. " … There's going to be structure there, but the same thing happened in the bubble. So we should be aware of that. We should know how to deal with that. We should know how to handle being in our rooms, and hopefully the guys can have their own individual routines that they go through in their preparation to play hockey."
Players experienced a stringent setup last summer in the bubble, where the Wild spent almost two weeks before getting ousted in the qualifying round in four games by Vancouver. And while some expectations are sticking around, such as physical distancing and face coverings, other rules are specific to this season.
Players will be tested daily during training camp, which opens Sunday, and for the first four weeks of the season. After that, the league will consider switching testing to every other day.
Anyone who is sidelined with COVID-19 must be cleared by a cardiologist and team physician before returning to play.
Close contacts to a positive case will undergo daily testing and symptom/temperature checks but won't have to quarantine if they are asymptomatic and test negative for two weeks. The NHL will also announce the names of players who have tested positive during the regular season.
Away from the rink, players are encouraged to stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary interactions with nonfamily members.
While full team activities are a go on the ice at camp, workouts in the weight room are limited to a maximum of 10 players.
Coaches will wear masks during games, which is different from the bubble, and the league's travel policy has also been revamped.
Teams will use the same hotel in each road city, and players will be allowed to move only among the practice rink, game arena and hotel. Meals will be available at the arena and/or hotel. Each player will have his own room, and guests are prohibited; housekeeping and the engineering staff can enter the room when a player isn't there.
The number of players a team can keep around — in training camp and during the season — is fluctuating.
No more than 36 players can attend camp, although an unlimited number of goalies are permitted. Teams are also allowed a taxi squad of four to six players who can practice and travel but play only if they're called up to the active roster.
If there are fewer than three goalies on the active roster, there must be at least one on the taxi squad, and the goalie must be available at home and road games.
These protocols will be carried out during a shortened 56-game, division-only schedule that is broken down into two-game series. The Wild will compete out of the West, one of four reconfigured divisions that includes an all-Canadian lineup because of border restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.
The NHL has also updated the offside rule; A player's skate no longer has to be in contact with the blue line for that player to be onside.
All of these changes could test the Wild at one point or another, but Evason believes the Wild's outlook can help the team get through the season.
"If you can come to the rink each day with a real good attitude, a positive attitude, [that] will give yourself a good opportunity to have success," Evason said. "There's going to be things that are thrown at us that are completely out of our control and if you can be as positive as you can even through adverse situations and negative situations, if we can be positive going through those, we're going to give ourselves a chance to have success."