I have been on record to saying this when it comes to the Minnesota Wild. In my opinion, the Minnesota Wild are "very" close to being a very good hockey team for a very long time, based on the make-up of their current roster and the young players that the Wild have in their farm system. I don't think it's a stretch to say that they could be a Stanley Cup contender with the right mix of players. A player like Thomas Vanek would put the Minnesota Wild over the top and to the next level.
The GM of the Minnesota Wild had this to say about his hockey team.
"We were fortunate to sign both Zach and Ryan," Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "Looking back now, in hindsight with a year removed, I can't even say how lucky we are that we did sign them. You hear horror stories of all these big free-agent signings that don't pan out, and we signed arguably the best defenseman in the League and one of the best goal scorers in the League. Both players lived up to expectations. They're great people."
The Wild's return to the postseason was short-lived. Minnesota was ousted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in five games, scoring seven goals. The team obviously was frustrated, but the emergence of defenseman and forwards Charlie Coyle and Jason Zucker has everyone within the organization excited about what lies ahead.
" Fletcher said. "We have a good mix of veteran players and young players up front. We like our defense with the addition of Ballard. Certainly, with Nik Backstrom and Josh Harding and the emergence of Darcy Kuemper last year, we like our depth in goal. Every team could always use upgrades, but right now we're really happy with where we're at. There will be some good competition in camp and we're excited to see where some of our young players will sort out." [Brian Compton - NHL.com ]