Hello, fellow Wild fans!
As you all know, hockey season is right around the corner now.
As I’m writing this, we are just a week away from the start of the NHL season. I can’t believe it’s that close now. It seems like just yesterday we were in the midst of the offseason. Oh, how the time flies.
Anyway, let’s get to the more important topic at hand, and that is how I think the Wild are going to look this year.
During this past offseason, the Wild weren’t all that busy, but they made quite a splash during the weeks of free agency. That’s because they signed the highly-coveted left-winger Thomas Vanek. This is such a huge deal for the State of Hockey and Wild fans, as Vanek spent some of his college hockey years as a Gopher at the University of Minnesota.
Other than the signing of Vanek, the Wild acquired a few more prospects to add to their farm team down in Iowa. Those players would be Michael Keränen, Stu Bickel, Cody Almond, and Brett Sutter to name a few.
So far in the preseason, the Wild have faired pretty well, with a record of 2-1-1 so far. Their most recent win was a big 4-1 win last night at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Wild looked excellent in that game, with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville (who got a hat trick) being the goal-getters. Darcy Kuemper also played great last night, and it looks like he was starting to slowly get his confidence back, which helped us out a ton last season.
The Wild’s next preseason matchup will on the road against the St. Louis Blues this Thursday at 7 PM.
With the preseason quickly coming to a close with the regular season rapidly approaching, the Wild still have to decide on which of their prospects that participated in training camp with the big club will stay, and who will go down to the Iowa Wild.
As of this past Monday, the Wild have assigned defensemen Jon Blum, Justin Falk, and Guillaume Gelinas, as well as forwards Joel Rechlicz, Tyler Graovac and Brett Bulmer to Iowa. This currently leaves them with 33 players on the roster. As to who will make the cut for the big team, that remains to be seen, as head coach Mike Yeo has been pretty impressed with what he’s been seeing from some of our prospects. For the most up to date information concerning the status of the Wild’s roster, you can check out this article from the Star Tribune by clicking here.
The Wild are looking to build on top of last year’s excellent season after winning in the first round of the playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche and making a brief appearance in the 2nd round before getting ousted by the Chicago Blackhawks.
With all this in mind, my prediction is that the Wild will finish in 3rd place in the division this season.
Last season, the Wild just missed getting 100 points, and with that they claimed the 4th place spot of the division (along with the 1st western conference wild card spot), with Colorado, St. Louis, and Chicago being just above them. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that the Wild will finish a place better than last season.