Friday, September 07, 2007

Strong in the Wild

Head coach Jacques Lemaire must look down at this line-up and feel pretty comfortable about being in the rough & tumble Northwest Division. The Wild, who made the playoffs again last season, has a team built to last and a team to grind it out with the best of them. Gaborik and Demitra are coming into camp healthy and Rolston is ready to go. Bouchard is building a name for himself in an offensive role, while Koivu is living up to his name. It's pretty safe to say, the Wild will be safe in the goal scoring role.

Defensively, the Wild have a good mix of youth and experience and once Sean Hill returns from his suspension (19 games left to serve), there is a strong core of defensemen that stand in front of the best save percentage in the NHL. *cough*Backstrom*cough* Nicklas Backstrom should rank awfully high in a lot of pool lists, as there is no reason why he shouldn't put up more excellent numbers on a full-time basis.

Pool-wise historically, past Gaborik, it was quite rare for a while that you wouldn't necessarily look to Minnesota for picks. Then Rolston came. Then Parrish came. Then Koivu and Bouchard started to blossom. Demitra came. Backstrom took the number one job. Now, if the blueline really started to score, the Wild would have players from all walks in the early rounds.

Brian RolstonPavol DemitraMarian Gaborik
Pierre-Marc BouchardMikko KoivuMark Parrish
Branko RadivojevicEric BelangerPetteri Nummelin
Stephane VeilleuxWes WalzDomenic Moore
Derek Boogaard

Brent BurnsKurtis Foster
Kim JohnssonKeith Carney
Martin SkoulaNick Schultz
Sean Hill
Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Today, the Minnesota Wild jerseys were introduced to the public on their website. There really isn't a far departure from the old jerseys, but the old third jersey (red) will replace the green jersey as the home jersey. Otherwise, there really isn't much difference between this season and the seasons past.

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