Hockey World Blog

Despite Key Signings, Wild Still Not Contenders

Ryan Suter and Zach Parise of the Minnesota WildThe NHL saw fireworks in early July as the Minnesota Wild signed the summer’s hottest free agents in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. The matching long term deals sent Wild fans into a frenzy as they began to look forward to a suddenly promising new season. Fans weren’t the only ones getting excited, as hockey analysts everywhere immediately began to throw Minnesota into their list of Stanley Cup contenders for 2012-13. But are the Wild really that likely to make a run?

The addition of Zach Parise on the left wing gives Minnesota an option for a huge top line featuring Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, and of course Parise. Unfortunately, Dany Heatley has deteriorated and is no longer the 100 point or 50 goal scorer he was in Ottawa. In fact, Heatley only managed 53 points on 24 goals and 29 assists in 82 games last season.

Playing alongside Koivu may help, however, as he has turned himself into a strong center. Koivu’s injury troubles could come back to haunt the team though. In fact, Koivu only played 55 games last season and hasn’t played a full 82 game season since 2006-07.

But beyond a potentially strong top line, which many NHL teams have, how do the Wild stack up? Well quite honestly, the depth that a true contender has just isn’t there with the Wild. Sure, they have Devin Setoguchi, but he has been underachieving since his 31 goal campaign with the Sharks more than three years ago. Or there’s Kyle Brodziak and perhaps Matt Cullen, but these guys hardly compare to the offensive depth of teams like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, or Los Angeles.

Defensively, Ryan Suter gives the Wild a new top defenseman. But realistically, where is the defensive depth? Despite huge minutes from Suter and Tom Gilbert, the Wild are still going to lack a tremendous top 4 going into the season.

Fortunately, the Wild are a defensive minded team and their lack of production will be offset by their shut down style of play. Their offensive stars will be counted on to help out defensively, so does the lack of defensive depth really matter?

At the end of the day, or rather the end of the season for the Wild, I think they’re going to come up short of being contenders for that very reason. The lack of depth both up front and on the blue line will lead to an early demise for a team that many are calling contenders. While the two huge off-season additions may pay dividends in the future, as Wild management continues to build around their solid players, their luck will fall short in 2012-13.

What are your thoughts about the 2012-13 Minnesota Wild roster? Does the addition of Parise and Suter immediately make this a Stanley Cup contender, or do they still have a ways to go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.