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Wild season preview


Guest jammer2
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Well, the days of the Wild being ignored in the fantasy drafts are over. This team has some UNREAL depth with their very sucessful UFA period. My best stab at some lines and depth charts for the upcoming season. I'm saying right now this team will be at the least a Western Conference finalist for 2012/13. One of the deepest teams at center in the league, and the wings are looking stacked also. Scoring and toughness is balanced....and the D is DEEP, ditto for the goaltending.

Forwards

1) Zach Praise Mikko Koivu Michael Grandlund (my fav for rookie of the year btw)

2) Danny Heatley Kyle Brodziak Devon Setoguchi

3) Jason Zucker Matt Cullen Cal Clutterbuck

4) Darrel Powe Zenon Kenopka Torry Mitchell

Great depth here, guys left out are Matt Kassian a real nice checker type, Eric Christensen checking line center, Zack Phillips a HIGHLY thought of rookie, Pierre Marc Bouchard a perennail 20 goal guy who I can't see making this team, and rookie Charlie Coyle and Nick Johnson, a depth checker. Tons of depth, they can cover any injury to any forward.

Defense

1)Ryan Suter Jared Spurgeon

2)Tom Gilbert Clayton Stoner

3)Marco Scandella Jonas Brondin

4)Tyler Cuma Justin Falk

Both Brondin and Cuma are highly thought of rookies who I expect to make this team. Guys not making the cut are Steven Kampfer, Nate Prosser both regualrs last year....AND of course, waiting in the wings....MATT DUMBA!!! I don't think Matt makes this team barring a outstanding camp, they have the depth to devlop him properly and wait for this future star.

Goalies

1)Nickas Backstom

2)Josh Harding

3)Matt Hackett

4)Johan Gustaffsson

The first two need no introduction. Probably the best tandem in the league, or very close anyways. Matt Hackett is super talented, but no room for him right now. He may be used as a bargaining chip to throw them over the top at a positon of weakness as the year plays out. He would command CRAZY return....they can afford to do this because Johan Gustaffsson is considered the most improved prospect they have. I see great things for this team coming up, WATCH OUT Western Conference....the WIld will bring the pain!!

This should be the year the young talent arrives. IMHO Granlund, Jason Tucker, Zack Phillips, Charlie Coyle, James Brodin, Tyler Cuma, Matt Hackett....they are WICKED good talented kids. At least 4 or 5 of these guys will make an impact this season and turn this franchise into an elite wrecking machine.

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A note to those Wild fans out there, I'm well aware Granlund is a natural center, it just seemed to fit to put him on the top line with Koivu and Praise. That way Brodziak and Cullen can be the 2-3 centers. It gives the Wild a few more options and makes the wings much stronger. They really lack a legit star Right Wing, Granlund makes up for that in spades. Really, really excited to see this guy in the NHL.

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@jammer2

Great post Jammer. I'm planning to get center ice this year just to watch them.

I'm not so sure Granlund will play on the starting line Heatley and Koivu developed some chemistry together last year. I can see Granlund on a line with some experience with Bouchard and Setuguchi. I expect Zucher to start the year with the Aeros. Thus the third line would be Cullen - Brodziak - Clutterbuck.

Also Stephane Veileux is another NHL depth player.

I'm glad Harding re-signed with the Wild. They are as good of a goalie tandem as Elliot and Halak.

There might be some weakness in the third defensive pair with respect to experience, but I expect that to improve as the year goes on.

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@hf101 Ahhh, knew I was missing somebody, forgot all about Veileux. He's actually a pretty decent bottom six forward, although it should be pretty tough to crack this line-up. I really feel having Cullen and Brodziak on the same line is a waste. They are perfect 2-3 centers. I just don't think it's using their talent wisely. If Granlund can't play the wing, I'd imagine you'd be right, one of those guys has to go to the wing. Zenopka is gonna be a perfect 4th line center for the Wild...great signing.

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Nick Johnson signed with the Coyotes and Christenson is now in the KHL. Dont see Zucker making the team this year, insert Bouchard there.

Not a bad lineup. I agree with the goalie tandem, I thought Tampa or even Detroit would have gone hard after Harding this offseason and was surprised at how easily he was retained by the Wild (He always kills my wings). Torrey Mitchell is one of those great depth guys, fourth line unsung minutes but kills penalties and plays the last minute of any period when his team has a lead. Kenopka is not one of my favorite type of players, I love team toughness but a three minute a game goon is dead weight of a roster spot, granted he is slightly above average when it comes to this type.

Overall, one hell of an offseason. Does it make the Wild a playoff team? They are certainly in the mix, Detroit, Nashville, the Sharks are are worse, The Kings and Blues are due for a bit of a slip, The Avalanche and stars are both improved, the Coyotes are worse but never count a Tippet team out. Over all, they are unlikely to challenge the Canucks for the division but they are right there with everyone else to contend for any other spot. Are they cup contenders? Likely not, but with as much or more young scoring talent as anyone in the league on the way, damn good goaltending and a couple of legitimate stars joining the ranks, the Wild are relevant again for the first time in a long time.

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