FanSided’s 30 In 30 NHL Previews: Minnesota Wild


All eyes in Minnesota will be on new acquisition Dany Heatley this season, who the Wild will look towards for major point production (Image courtesy Bettor.com)

This post comes a few hours late, so consider this “yesterday’s” season preview.  The outlook features the Minnesota Wild, who finished in 12th place in the Western Conference last season after an 86-point campaign (not terrible for the lower third of the conference).  This year, they will look to improve on this, and challenge for a playoff berth.  For FanSided’s Wild blog Gone Puck Wild, SenShot writer Jared Crozier previews 2011-2012 for Minnesota.

The Minnesota Wild placed a disappointing 12th in the tough Western Conference last season with a record of 39-35-8. Turnover was an issue for the club, as thirty-seven different players suited up for the Wild last season.  The Wild were 26th in the NHL in goal scoring, and they were 16th in goals against.

The futility of the season resulted in the firing of head coach Todd Richards as the Wild look for an answer to get back into the playoff picture.  Will they do it?  Let’s examine the evidence and then make the decision.

To read the rest of this Wild preview, click here.

Our Devils will play the Wild once this season, in Minnesota on December 2nd.  This matchup is the second game of a four-game road trip, in which the ‘Devs will make their first visit to the MTS Centre, home of the Winnipeg Jets (at the least, I’m excited for this).

And now, for a much briefer look at the Wild themselves.  After acquiring Sharks winger Devin Setoguchi about a month before, Minnesota made a huge splash with their acquisition of forward Dany Heatley for Martin Havlat; Heatley will be relied on to be a large source of production this season.  Captain Mikko Koivu should play alongside the former Shark (and Thrasher/Senator, for that matter), and will take on much added responsibility this year.  Overall, there is talent up front for this Wild team, however depth may be an issue.  The larger concern, however, might be on the blue line, as the Wild don’t seem to have a great group in front of goaltender Niklas Backstrom for this season.

Overall, while there is talent in Minnesota, there are too many holes, in my opinion, for this team to make a run at a playoff spot.  I expect Minnesota to have a very similar finish this season, and to eventually build their team through the next few drafts.  Heatley and company will be fun for the fans of ‘Minny to watch this year, but the final result might not be the most positive for the Wild.

Tomorrow’s preview will feature the Montreal Canadiens, who are looking to avenge a gut-wrenching Game 7 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins in the first round of the 2011 playoffs.

-Drew