It's A Wild Situation In Minnesota

Monday, June 29, 2009



A lot of teams like to focus on signing a natural goal scorer come July 1st, but no one is in more need than the Minnesota Wild. The Wild's team is made of a solid defensive core, which is great for a team and their goalie. But if you can't score goals, you have no chance of winning hockey games. The only real 30-40 goal scorer they have is right winger Marian Gaborik, who hits the free agent market come the first of July.

The biggest name on this Wild roster is Gaborik who, due to injury, only played in 17 games this past season. In those 17 games though, he scored 13 goals which simply proves right there he knows how to find the back of the net. Can you only imagine how much damage he would have done if healthy? Along with his 13 goals he put up 10 assists to total 23 points which averages out to at least one point a game. Now he has a contract of $7.5 million at the age of 27. To me, that's a lot of money but Gaborik's probably worth it if he can stay healthy. He's never played all 82 games in a season, coming close in 2002-2003 playing in 81. According to www.thefourthperiod.com, Minnesota, Vancouver, Edmonton, Los Angeles and Dallas are interested in him. My personal opinion: if Minnesota wants to make playoffs next year, they either keep Gaborik or sign a player like Heatley or Hossa.

Other forwards that will be free agents are centers Krystofer Kolanos ($500,000), Bryan Lundbohm ($500,000), and left winger Stephane Veilleux ($862,500). Veilleux is the same age as Gaborik and scored just as many points, only difference is he participated in all but one of the Wild's games this season. He is still a reliable forward though. As for the other two, if Minnesota is serious about getting another goal scorer, these two players could be traded as a package deal. Kolanos played in 21 games for the Wild and Lundbohm spent most of his season with the affiliate team, Houston Aeros.

On the defensive side of things, they have four free agents, one of them being the stay at home defenseman, Martin Skoula. For a blue-liner, he didn't have many penalty minutes as he had only 10, which is a plus. He put up 16 points through 81 games last season. So should Minnesota re-sign him? I believe they should, simply because for the 10 years he has been in the NHL, he's always been reliable.

Other free agent defensemen the Wild have is Marc-Andre Bergeron ($1.69 million), Kurtis Foster ($1.025 million), and Tomas Mojzis ($500,000). Bergeron is more of the offensive type of defenseman. During the 2008-2009 season, he scored 14 goals in 72 games to make a total of 32 points. In the past, he has had one 20 goal season, two 17 goal seasons, and one 15 goal season. This is a player the Wild really shouldn't let go of. The Wild have enough cap space to sign Bergeron and Foster if they wanted to.

About the goaltending situation, they already signed Niklas Backstrom, one of the candidates for the Vezina Trophy this past Awards Ceremony. They inked him to a four year, $24 million deal. Backstrom went 37-24-8 this past season.

On the night of the draft, the Wild acquired Kyle Brodziak, a center from the Edmonton Oilers. He's not one to put up big numbers on the score board, but he's one to stay healthy, be physical but stay out of the box, and keep his +/- at a reasonable number. I guess you could say he is one of those players who make up for the offense by doing the little things.

During the off season, the main focus of this team should be on scoring. Of course it could never hurt to add talent and depth to your defense as well, but if they don't, they should be fine.

2 comments:

Shelby Rose said...

I would be extremely surprised if Minnesota somehow got Marian Gaborik to stay. Even though he puts up the goals/points, he is injury prone obviously. It reminds me a lot like Tim Connolly here though the Sabres took a chance anyways.

The Puck Stops Here said...

Yeah that's the only problem with Gaborik. Injuries love him. But when he does play, he's so worth it. I know what you're saying though, it just depends on which team is willing to take that risk.

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