We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Minnesota Wild.
By: Melissa Esing (@Off_thepost )
2013 Season: 26-19-3, 55 pts (4th in Central Division, 8th in Western Conference)
Free Agents Signed:
D Jon Landry from New York
D Jonathon Blum from Nashville
D Keith Ballard from Vancouver
LW Matt Cooke from Pittsburgh
Free Agents Lost:
C Matt Cullen to Nashville
RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard to New York
RW Ben Ferriero to Vancouver
D Drew Bagnall to Buffalo
D Justin Falk to New York Rangers for a 2014 sixth-round pick
RW Devin Setoguchi to Winnipeg for a 2014 second-round pick
RW/LW Cal Clutterbuck to New York Islanders for RW/LW Nino Niederreiter
D Matthew Dumba
D Gustav Olofsson
C Zack Phillips
G Johan Gustafsson
LW Mario Lucia
A look at the 2013 Wild road sweaters
With the Minnesota Wild just barely clinching their spot in the playoffs on the last day of the 2012-2013 season and finishing 8th in the Conference, there is a lot of room for improvement this upcoming season. Their spot in the playoffs was short-lived after the Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, sent them home.
Unrestricted free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise were signed last summer, giving the team and fans a sense of hope in the beginning of the season. The expectations unfortunately weren’t able to be lived up to, because two men can’t just take a team from the bottom to the top overnight. Fortunately for the Wild, the two signed long-term contracts, and they’ll continue to grow from here.
For the first time in the team’s history, they didn’t have a first-round selection in the 2013 draft. Defenseman Gustav Olofsson was the Wild’s first pick during round 2, also earning himself a spot on the promising prospects list. This player made the team’s draft rankings skyrocket. While playing for the Green Bay Gamblers (United States Hockey League) last season, Olofsson had two goals and 21 assists. In an article on the Wild website, he acknowledged Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin for his “good hockey sense and ability to skate”.
At 20 years old, Brodin sits among the list of young Wild players. He managed 23:12 of ice time per game last season, making him a leader of the NHL rookies. This defenseman from Sweden came out with 11 points within 45 games in the 2012-2013 season. It’s safe to say that Brodin’s skating abilities are above average for a 20-year-old, leaving plenty of room to continue to grow. It appears to be a promising future for this player. Mike Yeo, Minnesota’s head coach, relied on the pairing of Brodin and Suter in the previous season.
The 19-year-old defenseman Matt Dumba is another young defenseman on the Wild’s roster. In the 2012 NHL draft, Dumba was the Wild’s first-round pick. While playing for the Red Deer Rebels, (Western Hockey League), Dumba accomplished 16 goals and 26 assists within 62 games.
Another player to pay attention to is center Mikael Granlund, who also brings a lot to the table for the Wild. One of his biggest strengths is being a playmaker. He has a strong ability to string the puck through tight areas. He has great balance and agility. With Matt Cullen no longer with the Wild, Granlund has the opportunity to complete a very successful year as a center on the offensive line. Though, with important assets comes negative qualities, as well. Granlund had a rough past season in his North American debut. An ankle injury set him back at first, causing him to be behind the flow of the game upon returning.
Now, there’s good news and bad news about the Wild signing Matt Cooke.
The good news is that Matt Cooke is known for being a great penalty-killer and third-liner. Cooke was able to step it up big time for the Pittsburgh Penguins while playing against the Boston Bruins in their series. The bad news is that Cooke wears his emotions on his sleeve, which always results in numerous, sometimes questionable, penalties. Overall, Cooke could be a great asset for the Wild.
With young depth across the roster, anything could happen for the Wild this upcoming season, and clinching the playoffs in 2014 is looking like a possibility.
Zack Parise-Mikko Koivu-Jason Pominville
Dany Heatley- Mikael Granlund- Charlie Coyle
Matt Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Jason Zucker
Torrey Mitchell-Zenon Konopka-Mike Rupp
Ryan Suter-Jonas Brodin
Clayton Stoner-Jared Spurgeon
Keith Ballard-Marco Scandella
Nate Prosser-Jonathon Blum