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»
Despite yet another gold medal at the U18 World Championship, this time around in Zug, Switzerland, the U.S. NTDP saw relatively few players taken at the 2015 NHL Draft. To a degree that can be accredited to having a number of key players on the team who will first be eligible for the 2016 draft, including no less than captain Luke Kunin, top scorer Auston Matthews, Matt Tkachuk, Clayton Keller, Chad Krys, and Jamie McAvoy. As many as three of these players are looking like surefire first round picks for next summer’s draft. Read more»
Coming into the 2015 NHL Draft the Minnesota Wild‘s prospect pool was one of the league’s weakest thanks to a combination of graduations, misses at the 2011 NHL draft, bewildering picks in other recent draft classes, valuable picks (especially the 2013 first-rounder) sent away for established players, and lack of late-round successes lately. The team needs to win more than one playoff round to justify such costly gambles, but it seemed to readjust its prospect development strategy for this draft. Moving away from drafting players with limited ability and upside is a major step in the right direction.
Most draft pundits point to the 2016 draft, front-loaded with players from the United States like Auston Matthews, Logan Brown, and Matt Tkachuk, as one that the Americans could dominate early on. But teams won’t have to look too far outside of the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft to find the next wave of U.S. talent pushing for playing time in the NHL. Read more»