Key Offseason Losses: Derek Boogard, Owen Nolan
Key Offseason Additions: John Madden, Matt Cullen
Last Season Ranking: 13th, West
Offense: The Minnesota Wild have a 1-2-3 punch in captain Mikko Koivu, Martin Havlat and Andrew Brunette. Koivu and Havlat are both balanced players capable of putting the puck in the net while Brunette is a good set up man.
Antti Miettinen, new addition Matt Cullen and winger Guillaume Latendresse are also key roles for the team. Miettinen should reach the 40 point mark if not even more this season. Cullen will be the pivotal tool for the team’s second line, netting only 16 goals last season, but adding 32 assists between both the Carolina Hurricanes and the Ottawa Senators. Latendresse, since coming to Minnesota, has really clicked posting 37 points in 55 games played. Latendresse is really an under rated player and should be considered for depth in any fantasy team.
From there another true player worth watching, partly because of the name, the other part of his physical play style, is Cal Clutterbuck. If Clutterbuck can stay healthy, the team may have a decent three lines that should help the team in close games.
Defense: You can guarantee veteran Marek Zidlicky will post at least 40 points this upcoming season. Brent Burns looks to stay healthy after playing reduced schedules in his last two seasons and Nick Schultz looks to do better than his previous seasons career high of 20 points. The remaining 3 defenseman look to add some talent as well as a lock down defense keeping the shots toa minnimum.
Goaltending: Niklas Backstrom will be the number one goalie again with Josh Harding normally backing him up, however harding has recently torn an ACL and MCL and is expected to be out for a bit leaving either Anton Khudobin or Wade Dubielewicz to see NHL play time.
Backstrom has had trouble fighting with back problems last season, but if healthy, could put up some decent statistics. Those statistics though will come in the likes of save percentage only, as with the lack of depth in the defense, Backstrom will be facing a lot of shots this seasons. If you do happen to pick him up on your fantasy team, play him as your number two goalie, and watch for good match-ups as it is very possible he could rebound from a poor season last year in shutouts. He only had 2 shutouts last season, a career low, but two seasons ago he had 8.
Season Outlook: The Minnesota Wild are still one to two players away from a competitive team, which not only sucks for the fans, but the team itself. Strong minded players will determine if the team is competitive or not on a day to day basis, but it is highly unlikely that the Wild will make the post season this year. Watch them for what it is worth and try not to worry too much, you could be a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. The Wild are developing and should be back in the mix in a few years.