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The Minnesota will need a little more puck luck next season to get back into the hunt.

KEY SUBTRACTIONS:

9 year veteran of the Northwest division, Andrew Brunette will be plying his trade for the Blackhawks next season.

Martin Havlat, RW
Brent Burns, D
Andrew Brunette, LW
Chuck Kobasew, RW
Jose Theodore, G

 NEW ADDITIONS:

Dany Heatley, LW
Devin Setoguchi, RW
Darrol Powe, C

 FANTASY QUICK PICKS:

There may not be a concern about whether or not Heatley will produce in the playoffs in Minnesota.

 Dany Heatley, LW: A change of scenery might help Stella…I mean Dany get his groove back. Funny how people consider a 60+ points season a slump, but I guess that’s what happens when you are considered one of the elites in this league. He will be dangerous this year if the Wild will truly open up the offence like they say they will. Expect 75+ points from this guy. If all the talk about scoring more is crap, expect 60+, he is the Heater after all.

 Pierre-Marc Bouchard, LW/RW/C: Had 38 points in only 59 games last season. If he can stay healthy throughout the season, look for him to rack up the points again. 60+ points for him this season if he isn’t plagued by injuries. Why? Because he can play all 3 forward positions and delivers kittens on his days off, so don’t be suprise if he plays on the first line with Heatley and Koivu.

 Mikko Koivu, C: Will be setting up Heatley all season so expect him to get a lot of points. Koivu and Heatley will have very similar point totals so if one starts going the other one will too. Similar to Koivu and Havlat…hmmm…

 SLEEPERS:

Clutterbuck is a hard working player who keeps improving every year.

Cal Clutterbuck, RW: 0 points in 2007-2008, 18 points in 2008-2009, 21 points in 2009-2010, 34 points in 2010-2011, get the idea? Now you do.

 Niklas Backstrom, G: Coming back from a major injury. He is a good consistent goalie that will win you games and post a few shutouts to boot. He will be playing the bulk of the games because I wouldn’t trust Harding with taking care of my goldfish let alone anything in the crease. If his Defense can make up for the lost of Burns, expect him to take the Wilds to the Playoffs.

 BUYER BEWARE:

With speed to burn and plenty of grit, Devin Setoguchi should be a fan favourite in Minny.

 Devin Setoguchi, RW: One day you are in beautiful sunny San Jose and then you wake up the next morning and find an ugly girl beside you…and her name is Minnesota. That’s how Setoguchi probably felt when he found out that he got traded to the Wilds. Why did I put Devin on the Buyer Beware part instead of the Fantasy Quick Pick or Sleepers sections? Simple, the Wilds actually have a very balance scoring group. There might be a few players on this team that can put up more points than Devins 36 points in 2009-2010 and 41 points last year if they stay healthy. Bouchard for example, had 38 points in only 59 games last season.

Guillaume Latendresse, LW: Injury sidelined him , only 11 games played last year. If he gets back to form, maybe 40 points…if not, then less than 10. Honestly there are other players on this Minnesota roster that will give you less worries, so don’t even bother with him.

 PREDICTIONS:

 EH: The team is shifting from Defensive first to a more balanced system, which is good. This will mean entertaining hockey for the first time in the teams history, this also mean that the D has to be on their game day in and day out because there will be more chances for the opposition to counter attack because their forwards might not be back quick enough to help out. This might be where they will start regretting trading Burns. Backstrom will be tested more often then he was in the past so don’t expect him to have a spectacular GAA this season.

More than ever, the Wild will be depending on Niklas Backstrom to backstop the team to victories.

The team is built quite well, but I have to look back on all the trades they made and the players that they let go, except for Theodore of course. I’m kidding Jose…on most days I would rag on you, but you are actually better than Harding. Hey Harding…don’t like me talking about your goaltending? maybe you should post a winning season for a change. You did? 2-1 in 2005-2006 and 3-2-1-1 in 2006-2007 don’t count, you need to play more than 10 games to call it an actual season sunshine. Sorry got a little sidetracked there with the Harding thing, back to the  trades that the Wilds made. I have to say I don’t see a reason for most of these trades. You had offensive players already that were proven point producers on other teams before they came to Minnesota’s stifling system. I have a funny feeling that those players would have played a lot better in this new system than the ones that management added this year.

 HP:  The Wild managed 86 points last season with a team supposedly structured around Defense first.  When it comes to chemical reactions like what the Wild are experimenting with next season, you never really know until the results are there.  On paper the team looks pretty good up front, with some speed, grit, experience, finesse…. all the right tools really.  On the back end, things look a little sparse without big Brent Burns patrolling the line.  I had Backstrom on my fantasy team last year and I know how up and down he was, so I’m not totally convinced he can carry this team on his shoulders.  I’d like to see them finish higher in the standings because they have some of the best fans States side who deserve it, but if you held a gun to my head and asked me who’s got the worst back end in the Northwest between: Minny, Calgary, Colorado or Edmonton, I’d have to say it’s Minny.  At least Dany Heatley’s playoff woes will not concern him or his team next season.  They won’t be there.

Mark Twain says:  When in doubt tell the truth. 

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