Looking at the Summer roster that is going into camp, I'm only noticing a little bit of tinkering done in the off-season and that there are jobs still to be earned here through camp. The Wild are going to be in tough again in the Northwest Division, so I'm guessing that job one for the coaching staff will be to make this team tough to play against on a nightly basis.
A couple of injuries will leave some jobs open on the front lines, making a good opportunity for some youth to jump into the mix and show his stuff until the injuries heal. The defense has a pretty good core of five guys and a couple of key additions would make a world of difference to the overall make-up of the team. In goal, the same pairing return for another season together and I don't expect that to change voluntarily, which keeps their prospects waiting in the wings for another year.
The names I've been reading to watch out for, possibly for some sleepers, include, Cody Almond, Casey Wellman, Tyler Cuma, Nate Prosser and Marco Scandella. I know I've seen some of them in other miscellaneous hockey events and would be pretty excited if they made the team. It would be pretty interesting to see what they'll do this year.
|Mikko Koivu||Marek Zidlicky||Niklas Backstrom|
|Andrew Brunette||Cam Barker||Josh Harding|
|Martin Havlat||Brent Burns|
|Matt Cullen||Nick Schultz|
|Antti Miettinen||Greg Zanon|
|Cody Almond||Drew Bagnall||Matthew Hackett|
|Joel Broda||Josh Caron||Anton Khudobin|
|Brandon Buck||Tyler Cuma||Darcy Kuemper|
|Brett Bulmer||Justin Falk||Josh Tordjman|
|Jean-Michel Daoust||Jamie Fraser|
|Jon DiSalvatore||Colton Jobke|
|Robbie Earl||Maxim Noreau|
|Colton Gillies||Nate Prosser|
|Tyler Johnson||Marco Scandella|
|Petr Kalus||Clayton Stoner|
|Matt Kassian||Jared Spurgeon|
Cap-wise, this team may not be as cheap as one might expect. There is some pricey talent on the squad, which brings their Summer roster's total up to $56.1 million. That number includes the two injured forwards in red and one buyout on the books, so the number is just an estimation or projection to what the actual value will be. Sheppard will be out for a while, so he should post a discount to his cap hit, while Bouchard is still awaiting clearance to play, which could happen soon, so he might soon be back in the black.
One year into the post-Lemaire era of Minnesota Wild hockey and I struggle to be convinced that a great deal for poolies has changed. The group of players I have on the Summer roster, including the goalies, has a points-per-game ratio of 0.45 on average per player on the team in 2010, including the new arrivals. That group is ranked 24th in the NHL going into these camps and I'm not terribly convinced that they will improve either. I think the only Wild players that I may covet for the draft are defensemen, possibly Andrew Brunette, but I'm not terribly keen on them.