NHL 15: Minnesota Wild Guide
Written By: Mr. Twinkie
Year in Review:
Overall: 43-27-12. 98 pts. Wildcard playoff slot. Beat top seeded Avalanche in 7 games. Lost in second round to the Blackhawks.
Preseason: Re-Signings: G Backstrom- 3 years. D Scandella- 2 years. F Veilleux- 2 year, 2 way. D Spurgeon- 3 years.
Waivered: D Tom Gilbert (buyout).
Signings: D Keith Ballard 2 years. F Matt Cooke 3 years.
Trades: F Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round selection (70th overall) to NY Islanders for F Nino Niederreiter. F Devin Setoguchi to Winnipeg Jets for 2014 second round draft pick. Draft: D Gustav Olofsson, RW Kurtis Gabriel, D Dylan Labbe, D Carson Soucy, C Avery Peterson, D Nolan de Jong, and G Alexandre Belange.
Notes: The Wild made everyone happy by trading Setoguchi away, this was the quintessential addition by subtraction move. Trading Cal was a bit unexpected, but it would prove to be a steal of a deal to acquire Nino. The Wild had no 1st round draft selection. The Gilbert buyout, hard to say; it didn’t seem expected that the team would buy out his contract because most speculated that Heatly’s contract would get bought out. Cooke’s signing was well received by fans, bring in a guy who has the playoff experience, and is not afraid to play in the trenches. Backstrom’s resigning was considered a good, if not great, deal for them. The team and the fans had high expectations going into the season. Anything less than the playoffs was would be considered a failure of a season. Yeo’s job was considered to be on the line as well, going into the last year of his first deal. The preseason gave a lot of us hope that things would be going right by them going 4-2.
Regular Season: They started out solid, won the games they needed to and dropped a few key games in OT. During the first month or so they played games with good puck possession, something we really haven’t seen in this team since Lemaire’s tenure. The main issue this team has had is its ability to play really hot and frigid cold. This trend started to reappear in mid October with a win 3 lose 3. In November it looked like this team finally was coming into its own by going 9 for 11, but then the Minnesota sports plague struck: injury*. The end of November saw Parise fracture his ankle (a side note: how does the NHL get away with not relieving injuries?) Jared Spurgeon also went down. Then they lost 4 in a row to finish November.
*Every team has been hit in the last few years; the T-Wolves lost Love, Rubio and Pek, the Vikings lost Peterson, and the Twins act like the DL is game they keep switching in and out of. Hell, even the Lynx (our best Pro team) saw Augustus and Brunson lost significant time this season.
So December, that happened. I don’t really recall what happened during this month. Harding out due to a “planned” medication thing, yadda, yadda, yadda, 6-game losing streak, and Yeo on the hot seat. I saw a lot of “L’s” for this month New year, new goal tender in Darcy Kuemper. Also, big wins against Buffalo and Washington to start out the year right. So they would play “let’s not get our coach fired” hockey in till the Olympic break. The fire Yeo questions/columns dried up during this time. Note: Koivu got injured prior to the break. Pomminville was doing his best to prove he deserved that contract. The Olympic break saw the emergence of Mikael Granlund, who helped the Finnish team beat team USA for the bronze.
March. they played like that hadn’t played in weeks, upon return. Granlund kept the good play up, but the team on the whole didn’t. Harding still wasn’t back, and Kuemper went down with a concussion. Backstrom and Zucker saw their seasons end with surgeries; one could argue that this didn’t affect the team to much, Zucker never did much to stay with the club and Backs had been a avenge goalie at best. I had forgotten a player! Keith Ballard! yeah…he spent the season mostly on the IR, he loved it there so much he would find his way back after a few games of being off it.
The trade deadline saw the arrival Ilya Bryzgalov, Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick. One who became a playoff starting goaltender, one who stopped scoring goals and one who scored more goals then we thought he would. The Wild were able to clinch a playoff spot by playing some of their best hockey to finish the season. They beat the Kings, Penguins, Burins and Blues, but also managing to lose against Nashville.
The Wild got lucky by getting to play the Colorado Avalanche. Lucky you ask? Well this team has had historic good luck against them in the playoffs. This series was a home team wins again, type of things. I don’t have much to say about this series expect for two things: Nino Niederreiter, and history repeated its self, again.
The series against Chicago. The team no one wanted us to go against. Why? Bryan Bickell and Patrick “Fucking” Kane. I had hope to start this series, then watched it fade as we saw production from players like Suter, Coyle, Moulson, and Pominville drop off. The Wild suddenly could not score goals, nor could they stop Kane.
Haula and Niederreiter came up big in the playoffs, bright futures for these guys. One thing is clear, this team needs a stay at home defenseman, once Suter goes down, bad things start happening. All in all it was a good season.
Due to the team’s playoff success, they resigned Mike Yeo to a multi-year contract. terms undisclosed
They signed free agent Thomas Vanek to a reasonable deal. the power of a women
Highlights from the 2013-2014 Season:
Why the Minnesota Wild Will Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
They have a stacked roster, and arguably the deepest one too. Every line is capable of scoring at anytime.
When Yeo’s system works, IT WORKS. One of the most noticeable things this season was when the Wild played well, they would look nearly unbeatable.
They signed Vanek. Another proven goal scorer, and who is also a very nice guy. He should help balance the lines.
Why the Minnesota Wild Won’t Win the Stanley Cup This Year:
1A. The goaltending situation. Someone in this rotation needs to step up and become the top goalie. As proven this past playoffs, only the teams with elite level goaltending are making it to the finals these days. So the Wild to find the guy who will take them there.
1B. As stated before, Yeo’s teams are streaky. One bad stretch could put this team in bad positioning come March and April; especially if the mid-December trend of playing horrible stays the trend.
2. The team stops scoring goals. This is what caused them to lose against the Blackhawks (the last two playoffs), the team struggled to put the puck in the net. Players like Praise, Pomminville, and Koivu need to start producing more in the playoffs. This team will keep losing if they have to rely on 3rd and 4th line players to score the big goals, or any for that matter. 3. They play in the Central Division. 4. They play in the Western conference. 5. If they match up against the Blackhawks. The Wild have no answer to the Blackhawks Kane.