Last Season – The Wild limped home with a 35-36-7 record and finished 12th in the Western conference, missing the playoffs.
Saying Goodbye – Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin, Kurtis Foster
Saying Hello – Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Zenon Konopka, Torrey Mitchell
Ready to Step In – Michael Granlund was considered the best player in the world not in the NHL last year. A point per game pace in his first taste of North American hockey bodes well and the lockout probably served him well to get eased in with some AHL experience before hitting the NHL
Look For A Bounce-back Season From – Dany Heatley. Although he led the team with 53 points, the Wild need him to get back to 40 goals and 75 points, even with the additions of Parise and Granlund, to get back into the playoff picture.
Hardware Hopefuls – Suter, Norris; Granlund, Calder
Upside – No team made a bigger splash in the summer than the Wild, who got Parise and Suter in monster contracts. The day they signed, the Wild became instant contenders in the West and changed the dynamic of the playoff picture.
Downside – The pressure is on the Wild to justify the spending spree. They will be scrutinized more than they ever have in the past and failure will not be an option after committing more than $180M to two players.
2013 Prognosis – With a healthy Mikko Koivu, Parise, Granlund and a (hopefully) rejuvinated Heatley should provide offense. The Wild also need a better performance from Nicklas Backstrom in net than they got last season. All things considered, the Wild will be in the hunt for a playoff spot, but I am not ready to give them elite status just yet. They just aren’t deep enough.