I received a few questions about the Minnesota Wild through Twitter, Facebook and email. I will answer those questions in this article.
If you have a question about the Wild, submit it on Twitter to my handle (@MNSportsWriter), on Facebook or email it to me through the contact link in my profile.
Why is the team not scoring? Is it a lack of depth? There not as good as we were told? Is it the system? What? What do they need to do to fix the problem?
They are not scoring as many goals as they could because they are passive in the offensive zone and without the puck. Defenseman Tom Gilbert said after Tuesday’s win over the Columbus Blue Jackets that they play a defense-first system. It looks like the mindset is not to go get the puck, but to stay in front of the opposition.
The Wild could score more goals by being more aggressive in the offensive zone and attacking the net. The Wild are taking too many shots flat-footed or moving away from the net.
Right now, it looks like they are trying harder to stop goals than they are to score them. The problem is the opposition is going to score goals. The best goaltender of this generation (Martin Brodeur) entered this season with a career goals against average of 2.23.
My belief is that the best defense is a good offense. If I have the puck, you can’t score.
Because of this shortened season and a high probability that they could make the playoffs, does that affect (the Wild) on what they may or may not do before the trade deadline?
General Manager Chuck Fletcher has not been afraid to pull the trigger when he feels a change is necessary. However, there are four factors in play as to what Fletcher will do?
No. 1 – How many prospects are he willing to trade. There are plenty, but Fletcher has been reluctant to deal the top prospects. In order to get a proven top-six forward, it may take one of the stars in Houston.
No. 2 – The Wild are very close to 50 maximum contracts and have a few prospects that are currently unsigned. According to capgeek.com, the Wild have 51 players under contract this season – three have the eligibility to slide; Mathew Dumba has already been returned to juniors and Jonas Brodin is probably going to play too many games in the NHL to make his contract slide to next season. If Zack Phillips does not play 10 games with the Wild this season, his contract will slide. It appears the Wild will have to move a contract or two in order to add a player through a trade.
No. 3 – Who is on the market and who will trade players away? With so few games this season, there will be fewer teams looking to deal and more looking to add. It should be a sellers market.
No. 4 – What is he getting in return? Also according to capgeek.com, the Wild has about $2.5 million in cap space. Once again, the Wild may have to dump salary in order to make an acquisition.
What is Mikael Granlund’s problem right now? He scored in the opener and has done nothing since.
Mikael Granlund has recorded two assists since scoring the goal.
But in all honesty, he has had a rough go of it since the opener. Maybe he isn’t ready for the NHL. He is not strong enough nor fast enough to compete with NHL defenders. Also, it appears he has lost his confidence.
What happens to Jared Spurgeon when he returns from his injury? Does he go back to pairing with Ryan Suter and what about the power play?
He probably plays with Marco Scandella or Clayton Stoner. Whether or not he returns to either power play unit is a mystery. The Wild has used consistently used four forwards and one defenseman on one unit and three forwards and two defensemen on the other unit. The three defensemen that have played since Jared Spurgeon got hurt are Ryan Suter, Brodin and Gilbert. It would be hard to take any of them off. It may be a case of using the hot hand.