Playing in a stacked Central Division, the Minnesota Wild couldn’t keep pace and eventually finished last in their division and 21st overall. The Wild struggled to find the back of the net finishing with the fifth-fewest goals scored this season sinking their playoff aspirations and leading to the firing of their GM Paul Fenton after just one season.
Additions: Ryan Hartman, Mats Zuccarello, Bill Guerin
Subtractions: Eric Fehr, Pontus Aberg, Matt Read, Nate Prosser, Anthony Bitetto
The Wild needed to find a way to add goals this year and adding Mats Zuccarello’s playmaking ability will certainly help with that but that still leaves their forward group with a lot of questions. Eric Staal is starting to be back on the decline and it’s fair to ask if Mikko Koivu will be able to bounce-back from his season-ending injury.
With Matt Dumba healthy again and Jared Spurgeon locked up long-term, the future of this blueline looks solid. Ryan Suter’s consistently been averaging more minutes than any other defenseman in the league but at 34 his speed isn’t getting any better so it’s fair to wonder just how much more he has to give.
Devan Dubnyk put together another solid season with a positive expected to actual goals against per game, meaning he was giving up less goals than league average goaltending. Alex Stalock on the other hand struggled in the 21 games he saw action, giving up just over an extra goal every seven games compared to league average goaltending. With the league trending towards “load management” for starting goalies, the Wild need to get more out of Stalock.
The Point Prediction:
A slight move up the standings this season for the Wild. We have them finishing 19th in the league. The won’t be sitting in the basement of the Central Division this year but mostly because of another team in the Central taking a nosedive.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)