The Minnesota Wild finished last season losing to the Blackhawks in round 2 after upsetting Colorado in a thrilling 7 game series. They had a mixed offseason, and the question is whether they are better or worse than last season.
My answer is that they are either just as good or better. Their big acquisition was Thomas Vanek. He scored 27 goals and assisted 41 times last year. He will be a nice addition to their offense, which is an area they were lacking in. The other acquisitions were Stu Bickell, Brett Sutter, Joel Rechlicz, and Jordan Schroeder, although those are mainly AHL-based signings.
They lost Matt Moulson, who returned to Buffalo, but I don’t believe it’s as big of a loss than it seems. They acquired him at the Trade Deadline, so they went 3/4 of the season without him. Another loss was Dany Heatley, but he did have an off year. He notched only 12 goals and 28 points. As a San Jose Shark, he reached close to 40 goals and finished with over 80 points, but has declined over the past few years, so losing him isn’t much of a problem.
The question going into the season is goaltending. With Harding’s health issue with MS, as well as Backstrom’s possible injury issue, the starting job is up for grabs. Darcy Kuemper might have a chance at securing that role. Maybe even John Curry could compete for it.
They will be competing for a wild card spot this season, but I expect it to be harder for them with other Western teams possibly improving.