Despite Key Signings, Wild Still Not Contenders

Ryan Suter and Zach Parise of the Minnesota WildThe NHL saw fireworks in early July as the Minnesota Wild signed the summer’s hottest free agents in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. The matching long term deals sent Wild fans into a frenzy as they began to look forward to a suddenly promising new season. Fans weren’t the only ones getting excited, as hockey analysts everywhere immediately began to throw Minnesota into their list of Stanley Cup contenders for 2012-13. But are the Wild really that likely to make a run?

The addition of Zach Parise on the left wing gives Minnesota an option for a huge top line featuring Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, and of course Parise. Unfortunately, Dany Heatley has deteriorated and is no longer the 100 point or 50 goal scorer he was in Ottawa. In fact, Heatley only managed 53 points on 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games last season.

Playing alongside Koivu may help, however, as he has turned himself into a strong center. Koivu’s injury troubles could come back to haunt the team though. In fact, Koivu only played 55 games last season and hasn’t played a full 82 game season since 2006-07.

But beyond a potentially strong top line, which many NHL teams have, how do the Wild stack up? Well quite honestly, the depth that a true contender has just isn’t there with the Wild. Sure, they have Devin Setoguchi, but he has been underachieving since his 31 goal campaign with the Sharks more than three years ago. Or there’s Kyle Brodziak and perhaps Matt Cullen, but these guys hardly compare to the offensive depth of teams like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, or Los Angeles.

Defensively, Ryan Suter gives the Wild a new top defenseman. But realistically, where is the defensive depth? Despite huge minutes from Suter and Tom Gilbert, the Wild are still going to lack a tremendous top 4 going into the season.

Fortunately, the Wild are a defensive minded team and their lack of production will be offset by their shut down style of play. Their offensive stars will be counted on to help out defensively, so does the lack of defensive depth really matter?

At the end of the day, or rather the end of the season for the Wild, I think they’re going to come up short of being contenders for that very reason. The lack of depth both up front and on the blue line will lead to an early demise for a team that many are calling contenders. While the two huge off-season additions may pay dividends in the future, as Wild management continues to build around their solid players, their luck will fall short in 2012-13.

What are your thoughts about the 2012-13 Minnesota Wild roster? Does the addition of Parise and Suter immediately make this a Stanley Cup contender, or do they still have a ways to go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.






3 responses to “Despite Key Signings, Wild Still Not Contenders”

  1. Tim Avatar

    To me, if you want to be contenders you have to be in the playoffs recently to make ufa notice. Me being a Stars fan, I know that we arent going to attract free agents like the two above because we havent been in 4 years. This signing makes ears peek up and eyes bigger, but it doesnt mean that they’re winning the cup in the next two years.

  2. Doktorgenius Avatar

    Obviously written by someone who knows little about the NHL. Anyone who makes the playoffs IS A CONTENDER! What were the seeds of the two Cup finalists? What were the Kings seeded? Someone sounds a little bitter. The Wild will make the playoffs this year and therefore, are a contender.

    1. EB Avatar

      Contender on the basis that they make the playoffs, OK. Contender on the fact that they lack depth, and will most likely not make it pass the first round, not a contender.

      Wild fans are passionate, this I know first hand. But the team is still a ways off and a few pieces away from being a team that can win the Cup.

      Backstrom continues to fight injuries and Harding is a good goalie, but not a game changer yet on a consistent basis. Plus, one dominant defenseman does not make a solid defensive core.

      The Wild have not even made the playoffs in the past 4 seasons for a reason. Despite ownership’s comments, changes do not happen overnight.

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