The Minnesota Wild finished in 13th place in the Western Conference lat year, and to their fans that seemed a little disappointing. It is not like they though this team was going to the Stanley Cup Finals or anything, but with a new General Manger and Head Coach they were looking for a renewal of hope. The problem seems to be that this roster is still filled with defensive guys from teh Jacques Lemaire era, and they don’t exactly fit with what Todd Richards system. That will change as time passes, but this team needs more offensive help.
Now Richards enters his second season with the club after compiling a 38-36-8 record last year. The problem here is they scored 219 goals, which was the same amount they scored the year before under the stale Lemaire system. A bigger concern is Richards’s team gave up 46 more goals. For the short term Richards has to rely on LW Martin Havlat and Goalie Niklas Backstrom to produce until he can get the players he needs for his system.
This team’s breakout candidate may be D Cam Barker. He hasn’t stormed the NHL like Evengi Malkin and Alex Ovechkin who were also drafted in 2004, but he is primed to take on an offensive role on a low scoring team. He may be exactly the kind of defensemen that will fit Richards’ system quite well.
Key Additions- C Matt Cullen, LW Eric Nystrom, RW Brad Staubitz, and C Warren Peters
Key Subtractions- D John Scott, LW Andrew Ebbett, LW Derek Boogaard, and D Jamie Sifers