This offseason the Minnesota Wild faced the problems of a contending team. Veteran players are key to winning in the NHL but their salaries can make for tough salary-cap decisions elsewhere in the roster. Veterans also tend to decline in performance at some point. To offset any drop in performance, the team relies on young and relatively inexpensive talent whose growing pains can sometimes be costly. Could this be the season that the young guys and the older guys hit the perfect balance and propel the team to the Finals? It presents a tough situation for the player who has yet to establish himself.
The WHL’s Eastern Conference was the – slightly – more competitive conference last season, and that should ring true again in 2015-16.
Last season in the East it took 73 points to make the playoffs, while in the West three teams qualified with less than 73 points. The East also featured the league-leading Brandon Wheat Kings, who finished the season with 114 points, two more than the Kelowna Rockets. The Wheat Kings may have lost a couple of pivotal 20-year-olds from last year’s team, as well as Ryan Pilon (NYI), who has taken an indefinite leave from hockey, but the team still boasts depth better than any organization, with a wealth of young, up-and-coming stars. The Wheat Kings, in fact, have landed atop the CHL 2015-16 preseason rankings. Read more»
July 4th, 2012 changed the Minnesota Wild’s course for the foreseeable future. Twin 13-year contracts for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter switched the Wild into win-now mode: an expensive and risky move that is easier announced than accomplished. Three seasons later, the team has qualified for the post-season in each season and won two playoff series total. Read more»
This has not been a great year of the prospect for the Minnesota Wild. The team arrived at a point in its process where it became ready to compete for the Stanley Cup. This has been somewhat to the detriment of its prospect pool, although any fan will take the tradeoff. Nonetheless, Hockey’s Future makes an annual tradition of handing out some imaginary hardware to players who stood out during the course of their seasons.
Though there was talk of somehow reacquiring a second round pick, the Minnesota Wild had limited assets to offer as enticement. Chuck Fletcher did pick up an additional seventh round pick in 2015 in exchange for moving down one pick, but in the end the braintrust seemed content to stick with its hand in Philadelphia.