Team Power Rankings: Minnesota Wild #14
What can you say about the Minnesota Wild, they are a team that is a threat every year, but fail to show up when it counts. They are the Western Conference version of the Washington Capitals (until last season), so lets say now they are the Western Conference version of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This team is full of talent from the top of their lineup to the bottom but why do they fail to take that extra step every year?
The team is ageing and their chance to take a run at the cup is quickly becoming out of reach. Can Eric Staal score 40+ goals again? Can Mikko Koivu stay healthy and productive to put up 45+ points for a few more seasons?
Personally, I know that Granlund and Zucker are going to show up and be force, but a player which the talent and potential to be that game breaker is Nino Niederreiter. He is quick and has one hell of a shot, but he has never put up more than 25 goals in a season. That needs to change. If this team wants to go all the way he needs to show up, last season in the playoffs he had 0 points in 5 games. Another player is Zach Parise. He has been on a steady decline these past few seasons, which a lot may have to do with injury, but now that hes healthy the team needs him. He managed to get into 3 playoff games last year and scored 3 goals, so lets hope that’s the spark of hope that the old Parise is back! We are also expecting big things from the youngsters Eriksson Ek and Greenway this year, which if you saw from the past 2 Stanley Cup winners, the youthful speed is necessary to win the cup these days.
I would say the defence in Minnesota is good, with Suter and Dumba they make a great top pair, then adding in Spurgeon and Brodin that makes a very good top 4. But they could use a bit more youth on that blueline with Suter now 33 and soon may not be able to play the 27 minutes a game that he has become used to playing.
For goaltending as long as Dubnyk continues to put up the numbers he has in the past few seasons the team should be fine between the pipes. But then again, Dubnyk is now 32 and this could be the season he starts to decline, so lets hope they have some youth goaltenders in the works.
But good news is, this season, the Minnesota Wild ARE a playoff team!
Goals: Zucker 38
Assists: Granlund 50
Points Granlund 79