By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild are in Vancouver Saturday night for the third stop on their Western Canada tour.

There are several reasons for the team’s current success. One is the emergence of Jason Zucker, who has blossomed as he enters his prime; pleasing himself, his team and his head coach.

“I think it’s been a culmination of a bunch of things. I think, you know, definitely getting more comfortable and more chemistry with my line mates,” Zucker said. “I think overall it’s a comfortability with this team, and knowing that this team can perform whether you’re down a couple goals or up a couple goals and still win games.”

We have seen him grow before our eyes, coming up at an early age from college, transforming his game to fit the National Hockey League.

Jason Zucker (credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Jason Zucker (credit: Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

“I feel like coming in it was a bit of raw talent, and that was really about it. Now it’s kind of trying to mold my game and shape it to where it needs to be,” Zucker said.

He has gone through his maturation process and seemingly hit his prime the same time his team has arrived at the top of the standings. It’s hardly a coincidence.

“It’s a very high level. I think he’s playing great right now. I mean, when he scored 21 goals a couple years ago, I think he only had five or eight assists,” said Wild Head Coach Bruce Boudreau. “Now he’s way more of a complete game, you know what I mean. And he’s got his numbers offensively without playing any power play time.”

And he’s playing on a team that keeps coming up big, in part from coming from behind and finding ways to win.

“I think it’s, you know, knowing that you’ve done it before,” Zucker said. “I think it’s the confidence of the guys in the group, in the room here. I think it’s leaders stepping up. I think it’s guys who don’t typically step up on a nightly basis stepping up when you need them.”

Mike Max