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.
If the Minnesota Wild should fail to qualify for the post-season, a lack of organizational depth is a key culprit. With Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Darcy Kuemper and Jason Zucker all graduated since the last Top 20, the depth chart looks as thin as it has been since spring 2010. Some questionable calls around the 2011 draft, plus the picks and assets traded away for Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, hampered the team’s ability to acquire elite talent. There are some promising young players, but not many from this list will be suiting up in St. Paul next season. Restocking prospect depth the team lost out on in recent years is something the Wild needs to explore.
The NHL’s salary cap forced Chuck Fletcher and the Minnesota Wild into a tough balancing act. On the one side are the well-paid veterans whose skill levels are established, if subject to bad luck and other kinds of decline. On the other side are the players on a first contract or an entry-level deal: the rookies and the young core. These players offer occasional glimpses of their best selves, but often disappoint with mistakes or other kinds of regression, especially when they are thrust into new roles. Mediocrity is the result when rookies fail to make the leap to consistent good play and veterans fall back a step.
Things have trended down for the Minnesota Wild‘s AHL affiliate since losing in the 2011 Calder Cup final to Binghamton. The team was moved from Houston to Iowa and while this makes for much easier ground transportation for players on recall, the on-ice results have not been good thus far.
The farther down the NHL Draft order you go, the less chance you have of ever playing in the NHL, let alone being productive. It gets to the point where, come the seventh round, only the most die-hard of fans have heard of you, and the most common reaction to your draft announcement is, “who?”. Read more»