Saturday, October 8, 2016
Minnesota Wild 2016-17 season preview
If you look at the Minnesota Wild's off-season they didn't do too much. They did sign C/LW Eric Staal. But in Staal's 20 game run with the Rangers last season, he only had 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists) and he's not the 100 point player he was 10 years ago. They also signed D Victor Bartley but he'll be lucky to make the team. Justin Fontaine left and is now on a PTO with Dallas. Chris Stewart is back after being with Minnesota for a part of 2014-15 then playing with Anaheim for 2015-16. Former first round pick Joel Eriksson Ek has a chance at making the team this year. Defenseman Ryan Suter leads a relatively young defensive core but Suter isn't young but is still a very good defenseman. In net is Devan Dubnyk but the question is who will be backing him up. They re-signed Darcy Kuemper but they also signed Alex Stalock. Personally, I think they will dress Kuemper on opening night but new head coach Bruce Boudreau will decide. In the first round of the 2016 NHL draft, Minnesota drafted C Luke Kunin with the 15th overall pick. With captain Mikko Koivu at age 32 and at the end of his prime, Kunin is another center behind Eriksson Ek and Mikael Grandlund.The Wild's projected lines look like this:
Zach Parise- Eric Staal- Nino Niederreiter
Mikael Grandlund- Mikko Koivu- Charlie Coyle
Jason Zucker- Erik Haula- Jason Pominville
Zac Dalpe- Joel Eriksson Ek- Chris Stewart
On defense is:
Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella- Jonas Brodin
Mike Reilly- Matthew Dumba
Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper are in net. D Nate Prosser, D Christian Folin and G Alex Stalock are scratched.
Finally, for my prediction, the Minnesota Wild, a contending team, will make the playoffs in 2016-17.