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.
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»
For any organization dedicated to the near-term goal of a Stanley Cup, having the bulk of the team’s prospects in colleges or European leagues is sound policy. The young men get their chances to grow as people, the team’s contract status is unaffected, and there is less rush to decide on a player’s future. The pressures of pro hockey in Europe are real, especially for younger players, but so is the NCAA Tournament atmosphere. Both make for excellent developmental opportunities.
After five years on the job general manager Chuck Fletcher has made his mark on the Minnesota Wild, swiftly rebuilding a franchise that had lost its way. He has assembled a promising young core of Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin, Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Jared Spurgeon, Erik Haula, Darcy Kuemper, Matt Dumba, and Christian Folin. With a strong group of veterans brought in via trade and free agency to supplement the few holdovers from the prior administrative regime, this leaves very little room for true prospects at the moment.
The Wild added considerable depth again this year, trading for a second pick in the first round as well as former first-rounder Charlie Coyle. The team also turned to United States high schools for three of its picks. The Wild displayed a good degree of confidence again at this draft, trading up for a hometown fan.
Jonas Brodin, D – Färjestad (SEL)
The Wild used its first round pick on Swedish defenseman Jonas Brodin. For the most part, draft watchers tend to favor eye-popping point totals first, and NHL frames second, of which Brodin brings neither. Brodin does however appear to be a master at the art of mistake-free, positionally astute defense.