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yave1964

Wild offseason outlook

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2016-17 a quick look back: 633027898.0.jpg

After years of stumbling and bumbling into the playoffs only to be knocked out in the first round the Wild gobbled up Bruce Boudreau about twelve seconds after he was cut loose by the Ducks. The fiery coach was expected to bring a new attitude to the team and the hope was that it would carry over to the playoffs.

  The Wild started hot and stayed that way culminating in a 12 game winning streak, the teams longest in history that ended January first when they lost to the CBJ who were in the middle of a streak of their own. No bother, the Wild seemed a mortal lock to win the division and go in with confidence to the postseason.

  It didnt happen. Before the loss they were 23-8-4 from the loss on they went 26-17-4 not exactly stumbling and bumbling but just another team. They were quickly beaten by the Blues in the first round in spite of the consensus being the Wild vastly outplayed them everywhere excepting where it counts, the scoreboard.

  Devan Dubnyk, if not lights out was certainly very good, Michael Granlund finally became the star he was billed to be when moved to the wing, Staal and Koivu found the fountain of youth in the middle, Niederreiter, Coyle, Zucker and even Pominville were their recipients and all played well, the Wild ran three deadly lines at you all year. Suter led a deadly quartet on defense that includes Dumba, Brodin and Spurgeon.

  As for what went wrong, Parise was good but brittle and no longer close to living up to his massive deal, Scandella was okay but slipped and passed over by the kids, Kuemper was awful as the backup forcing Dubnyk to play more than he should. A trade for Hanzal/Ryan White for a first rounder did not work out.

 

FREE AGENTS:

 

MARTIN HANZAL is almost certainly a goner, he put up 13 points in 20 games as a third line center which over a full season would be 52 points which is fantastic but is the fall guy for the season. Someone will be thrilled to add him.

 

RYAN WHITE the other guy in the deal is also an UFA and may be resigned to pivot the 4th line.

 

DARCY KUEMPER is good as gone.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTIONS"

 

1) NOW WHAT??!??

 

So they add the coach that they need who has a history of postseason nightmares and breakdowns of his own, the team and coach combine to channel their inner Gene Mauch and get knocked out in the first round. How do they recover as a team from this one, probably the most painful of all?

 

2) CAN THEY FIND A BACKUP GOALIE?

 

 Kuemper was awful and the AHL goalie Stalock is there for a reason. Do they spend a bit more to sign one of the solid UFA goalies to work as a 1B to keep Dubnyk healthy and rested for the postseason or do they continue to throw a bandaid on the problem? IMHO they need a 30 game a year backup to allow the starter to be in good shape come postseason. 

 

3) TWO AGING CENTERS FOUND THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, CAN THEY DO IT AGAIN?

Boudreau's style is agressive and allowed the centers to carry the puck but four or even five players pushing forward with the wingers first men back to help on defense allowing Staal and Koivu to be aggressive and not wear down. Both showed signs of cracks and wear by seasons end but it was fun to watch.

  My opinion is that the centers will be okay, maybe not as good as last year thus the wingers wont score quite as much either but the young hungry defense will be another year older and better helping to offset it. a solid third center in the mix to cut down on minutes would be nice. You know, someone like Hanzal.......

 

So everything went right, up until early April when the nightmare began. There is no questioning the talent and skill at every position, this team can play any style of game against any team out there the question is how much will last seasons early exit hurt.

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This offseason look is pretty much spot on.

 

A couple things I will add though:

 

Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker up front....

Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin on the blueline.

 

All five of those players (Granlund is the only one of the group without a new deal yet) simply MUST step up and not just be "ok players".

Those five players (25 yrs old each for the forwards, 22 yrs  and 23 yrs old for Dumba and Brodin respectively) were kept, not dealt away, allowed to be claimed in drafts, etc, etc, for a reason, and that is this............Minnesota views them as integral to the continued success of the team once the 'over 30' core of Koivu, Pominville, Staal, and yes, even Zach Parise, can no longer be counted on night in, night out to carry the team.

 

Those five players basically need to have career years just about simultaneously for this group to be taken seriously as one that "other teams don't want to play in the playoffs".

 

All other points made by the OP are, as I said, spot on, but to me, all eyes should be on what strides those five players in particular make.

Granlund, Coyle, and Zucker are NO LONGER the future...their time is now.  At 25, they should now be either sharing equal responsibilities with the veteran core, or even start surpassing them. This has to happen this coming season.

 

The young defensemen, yes, it is asking quite a bit from two guys in their early 20's, and I don't really expect either of them to surpass the likes of Suter, Spurgeon or Scandella just yet.....but they need to show they can push those vets for major ice time. And I mean REALLY push them.

And eventually those two SHOULD be the go-to guys on D.

 

 

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Wild land Ryan Murphy a decent bottom pair D man.

 

Think of it as a reclamation project he has an upside if he can find himself!

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Now that the Wild have let Darcy Kuemper walk (sadly, it was for the better....Kuemper was very good on some nights, but just wasn't good enough most of the time), who backs up Devan Dubnyk?

 

According to capfriendly, they have Alex Stalock and Niklas Svedberg.

Stalock, I understand, is strictly the AHL guy for them in Iowa, only being called up for emergencies.

 

But who is this Svedberg, how did he get on my Wild and WHY is he only 6' and 175 pounds at age 27??

Snipers are gonna love all the space there is going to be to shoot at....... :ermm:

 

 

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So will a new GM be named soon? I figured they would have one by now. 

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My guess is Paul Fenton gets the gig.  Will Leipold let them make meaningful changes...I doubt it so any new GM is going to be handcuffed by the restriction they can't blow things up.  That means more of the same above average mediocrity most likely.  

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13 minutes ago, CreaseAndAssist said:

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My guess is Paul Fenton gets the gig.  Will Leipold let them make meaningful changes...I doubt it so any new GM is going to be handcuffed by the restriction they can't blow things up.  That means more of the same above average mediocrity most likely.  

Leipold has pretty much said he doesn’t want any major changes and that this team isn’t rebuilding. So yep it will more than likely be the same old crap 💩 

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2 hours ago, Jimtown guy said:

Leipold has pretty much said he doesn’t want any major changes and that this team isn’t rebuilding. So yep it will more than likely be the same old crap 💩 

 

Totally I know we all agree that Fletcher wasn't best but also need to look at Leipold and the Job he's doing and really examine if he's the best fit for his position.

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2 hours ago, CreaseAndAssist said:

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My guess is Paul Fenton gets the gig.  Will Leipold let them make meaningful changes...I doubt it so any new GM is going to be handcuffed by the restriction they can't blow things up.  That means more of the same above average mediocrity most likely.  

 

I think he's been the lead candidate all along but I heard that Tom Fitzgerald really made a good impression on Leipold now maybe he was just better at kissing his ass and polishing his balls than the others and he might have just said the right words such as Koivu this and Suter that and how great the vets are to the future etc etc. But it now seems like he could have a legitimate shot even though I think Fenton will still end up with it even based on his history of turning down other GM jobs.

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7 hours ago, bbgarnett said:

 

I think he's been the lead candidate all along but I heard that Tom Fitzgerald really made a good impression on Leipold now maybe he was just better at kissing his ass and polishing his balls than the others and he might have just said the right words such as Koivu this and Suter that and how great the vets are to the future etc etc. But it now seems like he could have a legitimate shot even though I think Fenton will still end up with it even based on his history of turning down other GM jobs.

 

I heard about Tom Fitzgerald listening to Russo's show too.  (shrugs)  While he may have impressed; Fenton is a guy Leipold knows and trusts and the Predators reputation is rock solid from a draft and development standpoint.  That in itself is an area where the team needed to see some improvement.  While I see some Wild fans on Twitter getting tired of people bringing up Haula and Tuch; the truth is the Wild clearly didn't appreciate what they brought to the table enough.  That goes back to talent evaluation.  The Predators didn't make too many misses; and if you look at that team its full of players they drafted and developed themselves.  Its a more patient approach than what the Wild have used.  I still think Fenton has to be the front-runner.  

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I’m still pissed they passed on Boeser. But to their defense many teams did. But he was right in their backyard and was a Wild fan growing up. Watched him many times at the Ralph when he played for UND. Kid just knew how to put the puck in the net and he has proven he can do it in the NHL too. Plays with an edge too. 2 things the Wild lack. 

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4 minutes ago, Jimtown guy said:

I’m still pissed they passed on Boeser. But to their defense many teams did. But he was right in their backyard and was a Wild fan growing up. Watched him many times at the Ralph when he played for UND. Kid just knew how to put the puck in the net and he has proven he can do it in the NHL too. Plays with an edge too. 2 things the Wild lack. 

 

No doubt right?  This team didn't value shoot-first players.  We over value the two-way ability.  We care too much about how many pucks they give to little kids during warm ups.  

 

You are 100% correct, Boeser was exactly the kind of player this team needed.  Kunin, maybe its just me...I am not seeing a kid with a tremendous amount of skill or ability to score.  Not at the NHL level and mind you we haven't seen a lot of him.  But for a 6'0" kid he doesn't skate exceptionally well or possess blistering speed...so how is an averaged size guy with limited scoring ability supposed to be an offensive contributor in the NHL?  He wasn't even a go-to scorer in Iowa.  Just sayin'...  Tuch was at least a go-to player most of the time for Iowa last year before he made the big jump with Vegas.  

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A short note regarding of the Wild offseason outlook at some our players.

Just listened pregame comments and watched the finals (Sweden -Switzerland game at 2018 IIHF World Championship; final score 3:2 in a shootouts) on a Russian channel TV. So proud about our Nino Niederreitor experience and his outstanding influence into a Cinderella Switzerland team, which did an upset Canada and Finland teams before to reach the finals for the silver. He played under same #22 in a first line for his native team. No doubt Sweden team was better , more aggressive, more dominating, and a more professional team, Forsberg put a final shootout goal for this tournament. So many good words were told about Nino by Russian commentators, and about his first goal during that game. Unfortunately, he was not able to put a goal during a shootouts. His statistics during that tournament was pretty good too:

 

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Commentators did a very deep analysis of the Switzerland team’s success there and made a conclusion, that the most important part of that team was a team’s goaltender Leonardo Genoni,30 y.o. who carried that team to the finals. How NHL missed him is a question?An outstanding talent in my opinion.  I looked through his statistics at elite prospects link and was impressed of his playoffs experience.As well as 4 times champion winner of NLA, and a silver at the IIHF World Championship.

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Genoni is smallish by NHL goalie standards.  Adam Vay looked great at the World's not too long ago, but he struggled in the ECHL and couldn't even prevent Hungary from being relegated when got beat by England this spring.  

 

Sounds like I was right, Fenton is going to be named the Wild's next GM.  

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11 hours ago, CreaseAndAssist said:

 

No doubt right?  This team didn't value shoot-first players.  We over value the two-way ability.  We care too much about how many pucks they give to little kids during warm ups.  

 

You are 100% correct, Boeser was exactly the kind of player this team needed.  Kunin, maybe its just me...I am not seeing a kid with a tremendous amount of skill or ability to score.  Not at the NHL level and mind you we haven't seen a lot of him.  But for a 6'0" kid he doesn't skate exceptionally well or possess blistering speed...so how is an averaged size guy with limited scoring ability supposed to be an offensive contributor in the NHL?  He wasn't even a go-to scorer in Iowa.  Just sayin'...  Tuch was at least a go-to player most of the time for Iowa last year before he made the big jump with Vegas.  

 

They drafted Kunin to replace Mikko in two years...O Rapture.

 

Still never understood this pick. Others were out there that were better and the Wild grab a center that scored goals in a beer league...

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    • 2
      Post
      Hidden Content Give reaction or reply to this topic to see the hidden content.   My guess is Paul Fenton gets the gig.  Will Leipold let them make meaningful changes...I doubt it so any new GM is going to be handcuffed by the restriction they can't blow things up.  That means more of the same above average mediocrity most likely.  
    • 2
      Post
      Leipold has pretty much said he doesn’t want any major changes and that this team isn’t rebuilding. So yep it will more than likely be the same old crap 💩 
    • 1
      Post
      This offseason look is pretty much spot on.   A couple things I will add though:   Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker up front.... Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin on the blueline.   All five of those players (Granlund is the only one of the group without a new deal yet) simply MUST step up and not just be "ok players". Those five players (25 yrs old each for the forwards, 22 yrs  and 23 yrs old for Dumba and Brodin respectively) were kept, not dealt away, allowed to be claimed in drafts, etc, etc, for a reason, and that is this............Minnesota views them as integral to the continued success of the team once the 'over 30' core of Koivu, Pominville, Staal, and yes, even Zach Parise, can no longer be counted on night in, night out to carry the team.   Those five players basically need to have career years just about simultaneously for this group to be taken seriously as one that "other teams don't want to play in the playoffs".   All other points made by the OP are, as I said, spot on, but to me, all eyes should be on what strides those five players in particular make. Granlund, Coyle, and Zucker are NO LONGER the future...their time is now.  At 25, they should now be either sharing equal responsibilities with the veteran core, or even start surpassing them. This has to happen this coming season.   The young defensemen, yes, it is asking quite a bit from two guys in their early 20's, and I don't really expect either of them to surpass the likes of Suter, Spurgeon or Scandella just yet.....but they need to show they can push those vets for major ice time. And I mean REALLY push them. And eventually those two SHOULD be the go-to guys on D.    
    • 1
      Post
      I’m still pissed they passed on Boeser. But to their defense many teams did. But he was right in their backyard and was a Wild fan growing up. Watched him many times at the Ralph when he played for UND. Kid just knew how to put the puck in the net and he has proven he can do it in the NHL too. Plays with an edge too. 2 things the Wild lack. 
    • 1
      Post
      No doubt right?  This team didn't value shoot-first players.  We over value the two-way ability.  We care too much about how many pucks they give to little kids during warm ups.     You are 100% correct, Boeser was exactly the kind of player this team needed.  Kunin, maybe its just me...I am not seeing a kid with a tremendous amount of skill or ability to score.  Not at the NHL level and mind you we haven't seen a lot of him.  But for a 6'0" kid he doesn't skate exceptionally well or possess blistering speed...so how is an averaged size guy with limited scoring ability supposed to be an offensive contributor in the NHL?  He wasn't even a go-to scorer in Iowa.  Just sayin'...  Tuch was at least a go-to player most of the time for Iowa last year before he made the big jump with Vegas.  
    • 1
      Post
      They drafted Kunin to replace Mikko in two years...O Rapture.   Still never understood this pick. Others were out there that were better and the Wild grab a center that scored goals in a beer league...

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