Another season has kicked off for the Wild, with quite a few new faces. A quick rundown of those who migrated to the State of Hockey to begin the 2011-2012 NHL season.
Dany Heatley - Traded to the Wild from San Jose for Martin Havlat as the search for Marian Gaborik's heir continues. Heatley has the potential to pot quite a few goals and he can be a power-play wizard. The question is whether he will get enough chances to make the difference that a top-notch goal scorer can.
Devin Setoguchi - Traded to Minnesota from San Jose on draft day as part of a big deal that sent Brent Burns to the Sharks. He's averaged 24 goals/year the last 3 seasons, and the hope is that his pairing with Koivu and Heatley will yield him plenty of opportunities to match or exceed those totals.
Brett Bulmer - Made the jump from Canadian Juniors straight to the opening day NHL roster. He was a 2nd round pick of the Wild's in 2010, and he's only 19. More of an energy guy than a goal scorer, and I'd expect him to spend some time in Houston this year, but it's a fun story that he made the team.
Nick Johnson - Spent last year with the Pittsburgh AHL affiliate before coming to the Wild. Nothing special, but could be a role-player.
Darrell Powe - Traded to Minnesota from Philadelphia for a 3rd round pick (2013). Checking-line winger, adjusted plus/minus and Corsi don't think much of him, but I haven't seen enough to really say anything.
Contrast those additions with the loss of Mittens, Brunette, Burns, Havlat and Madden. The biggest impact on the offensive side might end up being a healthy Bouchard and Latendresse. If those guys are healthy and productive, I think this team could be somewhere around a league average offense, which would be a nice change.
Defensively, they are about the same, although they lose the puck-moving of Brent Burns, they look to Marco Scandella and some younger guys to provide that. They should be alright but nothing spectacular in that respect.
So average offense, and a passable defense, does that spell playoffs? It's within the realm of possibility, but I think things need to break right (no injuries, some breakout seasons, etc.).
Continue reading Weekly Wild Whangdoodle – Games 1-3