Wild Musings 2/21/2012 - Hockey Day in America #SignBrodziak
On Sunday, the Minnesota Wild beat the Boston Bruins in 2-0 shutout. Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom was in masterful form, stopping 48 shots, and 3 breakaway chances in the first period. Fitting enough that on Hockey Day in America, Matt Cullen and Chad Rau, two Minnesota Natives, scored the two Wild goals (Interestingly enough, Chad Rau has scored twice in the NHL: once on Hockey Day in Minnesota, the other on Hockey Day in America, so let’s make sure somebody tells him Thursday is Hockey Day in Florida). The win pulled the Wild within 4 points of 8th place Calgary, ended a 7 game losing streak, and sent the Wild into a 4 day break with some much needed momentum. Now if Mikko Koivu could get healthy enough to get back into the lineup on Thursday, the Wild would be firing on all the cylinders that it has. They are gearing up for a back to back on the road in Florida and Dallas, and the Wild need all hands on deck to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Now, the biggest story to come out of the Wild win on Sunday was the announcement of the club reaching a contract extension with Kyle Brodziak. The Wild Center signed a new three year deal worth 8.5 million with an annual cap hit of 2.8 million. That is a very workable cap hit for a heart and soul type of player that really drives the Wild. Kyle Brodziak is a grinder type of player that plays in all facets of the game. He is a great third line center, which is where the Wild will play him ideally. He is great on the penalty kill, and is third on the team in goals on the power play. He scored a shootout winner in Edmonton earlier this year, and has 15 goals on the year so far. Over the past two seasons Brodziak has really stepped up his offensive game, scoring 37 points last year (16G-21A) and being on pace to score more goals and hopefully more points so far this year (15G-14A 29 points). The real value in this contract is going to be seen in the next few years. Brodziak is a hard worker, he plays the game the right way, and he never takes a shift off. Brodziak is going to prove invaluable as the Wild infuse all the young talent they have accumulated into their lineup over the next few years. Guys like Brodziak and Koivu are going to be the examples that young guys like Zack Phillips and Mikael Grandlund are going to be held to. This is all part of the culture Mike Yeo and Chuck Fletcher are trying to build and instill in the organization. This is a great sign for the Wild, and a well deserved pay day for Kyle Brodziak.
Up next for the boys in green, a trip to Sunrise to play the Panthers on Thursday, followed by a trip to Dallas on Friday, where the Wild haven’t won since 2003. This is a crucial stretch for the Wild’s playoff hopes, as the deadline looms near on the 27th.
Friday I’ll look at the Wild and the trade deadline, and breakdown what they should and shouldn’t be doing.
As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and ask questions. I love talking hockey with you guys.
Have a good day.
On Twitter @Wild_Halo
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