Patience, patience patience. Seems like the theme for Peter’s Wild as GM of the team. When will they ever be good? The answer… ‘’Not right now…well…maybe. Who the hell knows?’’
There is no denying that Minnesota has made some moves in the offseason and is a better team on paper than last year. Does Minnesota have what it takes to make the playoffs though? That is the exciting question. For the first time in a couple season, it’s more than just ‘set and forget’ when it comes to the lines. Line combinations will matter, cap space will matter a little more than usual, roster spots will matter.
‘’I’ve said for years now it’s about the cycle. We are no longer in that ‘trade every player of value for futures’ mode. We now have players that we have drafted, developed and stayed patient with, and they are becoming the faces of this franchise. We are transitioning from a bottom feeder to building a young core and surrounding them with Vets until even more youth make their way to the big club. We want to be in the position where playoffs become a yearly thing and hopefully some magic happens. We are not there yet, but we’re closer for sure. We have some of the most patient fans in the league, but I think they know we are on the upswing.’'
We are at the time of year where every team has a few prospects that ‘’gain 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason’’ and expectation rise for that prospect. It is no different for the Wild. Young, fresh faces expected to contribute for Minnesota right away for the first time are Elias Pettersson (6th overall, 2017) and Brady Tkachuk (5th overall, 2018).
Projected Opening night Roster (line combinations likely different)
Brady Tkachuk (20yo. 77ov) – Elias Petterson (21yo. 73ov) – Ondrej Kase (24ov. 73ov)
Jake Debrusk (23yo. 73ov) – Tyler Bozak (33yo. 71ov) – Alex Chiasson (29yo. 72ov)
Roope Hintz (23yo. 71ov) – Bryan Little (32yo. 69ov) – Kevin Labanc (24yo. 70ov)
Nick Cousins (26yo. 67ov) – Jugjar Khaira (25yo. 68ov) – Corey Perry (34yo. 69ov)
Spares/Callups: Michael McLeod, Alex Formenton, David Kahun, David Kampf, AJ Greer, Michael Bunting
Jake Muzzin (30yo. 76ov) – Zach Bogosian (29yo. 74ov)
Josh Morrissey (24yo. 72ov) – Filip Hronek (22yo. 70ov)
Roman Polak (33yo. 76ov) – Ben Lovejoy (35yo. 72ov)
Spares/Callups: Erik Gudbranson, Ryan Graves
Jimmy Howard (35yo. 81ov)
Carter Hart (21yo. 73ov)
Green: Core/longer term players as of right now
Orange: Complimentary players
Red: Stop gap players
‘’It’s exciting to see the injection of youth and to see how much more is on the way. It really gets you thinking about line combinations, D pairings, special teams and of course, who could be traded away down the line to bring in a missing element. Roster is starting to take shape but still some big holes to fill. Wings seem to be set. Lots of futures coming up there within 1-3 years: Formenton, Raddysh, Studenic, Kahun, Bemstrom, Ikonen, Kuokkannen just to name a few. Our Centers need work right now but reinforcements are on the way real soon. Our goaltending looks poised for the future with Hart in goal and Sogaard, Wolf, Ferguson and others as depth in this unpredictable position. Our Defense needs the most work but some options are coming up like Clague, Brook, Johnson, Reunanen. We're pumped about the possibilities next year and the 2019-2020 season hasn't begun yet!’'
Earlier in the summer it was reported on the Wild Twitter page that Minnesota was ready to make a few deals.
The GM had some words on this recently:
‘’I don’t think I’ve ever been busier in the summer chatting with GMs. I had a wide variety of talks. Right now, only minor deals were done. Maybe something bigger gets done, maybe not. I think a lot of people would be surprised at some of the names I’ve been offered. Not going to name any! Getting back to the cycle, some trade options just were not the right fit or the right price right now. I could have improved my roster through trade for sure. But is it the smart thing to do to give up 1sts and prospects to bring in higher salary guys and still miss the playoffs this year and maybe next?
Let me give an example: In a year or two I should have Centers like Poehling, Kunin, McLeod, Evans, Gregor, Gignac, Zegras, Heponiemi, Dahlen, Morozov, Barratt, competing for #2/3 C. There are more names at C, I just can’t remember them right now. All those guys for just 2 spots. Some will pan out some won't, but I’d have to trade a couple of those and some picks to make a move now. Why not wait and see how these guys develop since I’m not a contending team with whomever I bring in for those guys anyway. I think the picture gets clearer later compared to making a move now. And with 2 1st round picks this year and basically a full set of draft picks for the foreseeable future, the pipeline will stay stocked.’’ - Peter
Minnesota 2019-2020 motto: Whatever happens, happens.