Another year and another not so wild offseason for the Minnesota Wild. For six straight years the Minnesota Wild have been a playoff team, but for the last three years, they have not been able to get out of the first round. There is no question that the Wild have a strong team, but the question is why are the Wild not being more aggressive in the offseason.
Where’s The Production
Minnesota has not made any big moves in the offseason since the 2012 offseason when they landed Zach Parise via free agency. The main reason for the Wild’s lack of moves is their constant battle with the salary cap. Parise and Nino Niederreiter’s cap hit of $12.5 million is one that is way too much when compared to other duos across the NHL. Niederreiter and Parise accounted for a combined 56 points in 105 games.
When compared to other duos across the NHL the numbers begin to look even worse than they did before. In Boston Marchand and Bergeron have a combined cap hit of about $13 million, but the production between the two blows Parise and Niederreiter out of the water. The brew crew combined for 148 points last season in 132 games.
The disparity in talent is also seen in division rivals such as the Winnipeg Jets who knocked the Wild out of the playoffs in round one this last spring. Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele’s cap hit of $12.1 million per year is less than that of the Wild’s top forwards, but the production is still above and beyond the Wild’s top forwards. The pair combined for 120 points in 142 games in 2017-18 and both are yet to even hit their prime playing years.
What Can They Do?
There is not much that the Wild can do in order to fix the problem. There are very few teams if any that are going to take on Parise’s contract if any. Even if they would Parise’s contract involves a no-movement clause so he would have to okay the move.
Even though his production has been low there is still hope that Parise can give them solid contributions. It all depends on whether or not he can stay healthy. Parise has played 70 games or more only two times since joining the Wild in 2012. When out on the ice he has been productive, but not quite as productive as Minnesota was hoping he would be.
Niederreiter was hurt last season and that led to his low production numbers, but you never know if the injuries will be something that lingers with him. When not injured, Nino is a very productive member of the Wild’s offense, but as stated earlier that production is less than players making similar amounts of money in other places.
How Far Can They Get This Year?
Although all Minnesota fans would like to see a busy offseason from the team, it does not appear that that is going to happen this year. Minnesota is betting on the talent that they have now to be the guys that finally make a deep postseason run.
With seven players 25-years old and younger making significant contributions to the team, the Wild are a team with a decent balance of veterans and youth. If the veterans on this team can stay healthy, the young guys on this team are in the process of making strides in 2018.
If they are able to stay healthy this Wild team could make it to the second or third round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But if they become injury plagued like in years’ past they will be another first round exit. The Western Conference is incredibly deep and the teams at the top are really good. Beating a team like Winnipeg or Nashville in the postseason is going to require a great all-around effort for seven games, something Minnesota hasn’t gotten since the 2012 season when they made it to the quarterfinals.
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