Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Minnesota Wild Will Miss The Playoffs



The Minnesota Wild are without a doubt the winners of this year’s free-agency. They were able to lure, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the top two free agents, away from their respective teams and into the State of Hockey.

While Wild fans are sure to be riding an unprecedented high, one has to wonder are the Wild now Cup contenders, or even playoff ready, with the addition of the two super stars?

The answer would have to be no, in both cases. The team does not have enough depth, on any front to be labeled elite and a Cup contender. Sure, they might have enough talent to make the playoffs, and that’s a stretch, but to say anything else is impossible.

The Wild’s top line will likely look like this, Mikko Koivu between Parise and Dany Heatley, that is 67 goals and 166 points between their top three last season. The Wild’s projected second line of, Matt Cullen between Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Devin Setoguchi put together 42 goals and 93 points last season.

Not exactly a strong one two punch. Their defensive corps is probably weaker, outside of Suter, than their offensive counterparts. Cementing some of the Wild’s poor defense is the play in their own end. Other than Suter, only Clayton Stoner finished with a positive plus/minus last season.

When you look at the Wild’s defenseman, you just don’t get the feeling that this group has what it takes to come in on a nightly basis and backstop their team to a win. Most of them are young and could have a big upside in their future, but that turnaround is not likely to come after one season.

Seriously, would you think you could win when Tom Gilbert is your  projected number two guy on the blue-line?

Before, everyone jumps me and starts screaming about their prospects coming through the system. When was the last time a team full of prospects made the playoffs?


Finally, perhaps the Wild’s weakest area is in net. Is there any person that thinks Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding are a goalie tandem capable of piecing together a run at the Stanley Cup, or even a season good enough for the playoffs.

Both Backstrom and Harding sported .91 save percentages last season, and neither broke the 20 win mark. Are those the numbers of Stanley Cup winning goalies?  No way.

It is just too big a task for the Wild to rebound from finishing 14-points out of the playoffs last season to making the playoffs. Sure they will be a better team, but a playoff team, doubtful, a  Stanley Cup contender, no chance.

But for now, let Wild fans flock in and by their Parise and Suter jerseys while riding the energy that has come with this monstrous signing. Because, once the season starts, it may not be as happy a time.

6 comments:

  1. Totally agree, while heading in the right the direction this conference is just way to tough as it is for a team of unproven talent at depth positions to make the top 8...

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are right in the way we are a young inexperienced team with lots to prove and we get it. I hope by season end you can look at Minnesota as a contender deep in the playoffs.
    This is a proud STATE OF HOCKEY and We really care about our team and players! You guys are like Weather Men - Maybe right 30% of the time and come up with 70% of excuses why you were wrong!! GO WILD!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the wild will cruise to a mid playoff seed. Although it likely wasn't sustainable, the Wild without Suter and Parise were the top team in the west two months into last season before the injury bug hit. This year's team with the addition of two legit all stars and an average prospect pool, will not only have more skill but also more depth. Charlie Coyle in particular looks like he can have an immediate impact. The D corps is still a bit thin, but the Wild's team defense approach will help mask that weakness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree 100% except for the average prospect pool comment. According to Hockey's Future, the Wild has the #2 ranked prospect pool behind Florida. Coyle is great, but Granlund is just as good and Phillips, Larsson, Bulmer, Zucker and Lucia are right behind them. Then you have a future all star pairing in Dumba and Brodin with a tremendous trio of prospects in net (yes, Mr. Blogger, I just busted your bubble) made up of Hackett, Kuemper and Gustafsson.

      Delete
  4. Peoples expectations are pretty high here in Wild territory, but I don't think a lot of folks believe we're instant contenders unless they are just bandwagoners. I'll say a few things: Granlund will most be likely be centering the 2nd line which will strengthen there depth in their forward spots. Also Backstrom was injured most the season, and since the Wild ranked dead LAST in shots on goal he most likely was taking a lot of shots on his goal. I expect Harding and Backstroms percentage to go up, and pop in a few goals. If you look at how the lines are probably going to be set up Parise, Koivu, Heatley. Then Setoguchi and Bouchard on the wings while Granlund centers. That knocks Cullen down to a 3rd line center on a line with Brodziak, who somehow managed 20 goals last season, and Clutterbuck. Those don't sound too terrible of lines to me. The fourth line also is probably going to have Powe, Konopka, and Torrey Mitchell. There is also the chance that Charlie Coyle could come up this year and develop, and Jake Dowell who was signed could play a bit as well. Doesn't sound awful, and I imagine a 7th or 8th seed is in store this season until the young guys develop.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a very excited Wild fan, however, realistic as well! I agree that Granlund will probably center the 2nd line. That leaves Cullen to move down to play with Clutterbuck and Brodziak! As the above commenter stated, this doesn't look bad on paper. The key to this whole season will be on the blueline. If guys like Scandella, Falk, Stoner, and Spurgeon can develop and play better than they did last year, that bodes well for our goalies. We do have some nice prospects on the way up, but hopefully the injury bug can at least be normal, and allow most of them to develop another year! I can actually see the Wild winning their division, getting a 3 seed, and then losing in the 1st round of the playoffs to a little more seasoned team!

    ReplyDelete