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Offseason Report: Minnesota Wild

Aug 7, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

Devin Setoguchi, Josh Harding Getty Images

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

35-36-11, 80 points. Fourth in the Northwest Division, 12th in the Western Conference.


Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka, Jake Dowell


Nick Johnson, Warren Peters, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin

2012 Draft

First round, 7th overall — Mathew Dumba, D (WHL Red Deer)

Looking back

No team changed its identity this summer more dramatically than the Minnesota Wild.

Of course, that’s what you get by spending over $200 million in free agency. While most of that went to ex-Nashville defenseman Suter and former New Jersey Devils captain Parise, the Wild also spent significantly in upgrading forward depth with Mitchell, Dowell and ex-Ottawa tough guy Konopka.

But let’s not kid ourselves — this offseason was all about Suter and Parise. By inking the pair, owner Craig Leipold not only drastically improved his on-ice product, but also added star power to his club. The Wild are a marquee attraction that has been buoyed by a surge in season ticket and merchandise sales, a club that will likely garner plenty more attention when they set out on the road this year.

Looking forward

The real wildcard of Minnesota’s offseason is that Parise and Suter were added to an organization boasting incredible prospect depth. Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin could all challenge for roster spots in 2012-13, which would create an exciting mix of established veterans (lest we forget Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley et. al) and young talents.

There’s also the fact that, as late as December of last season, the Wild were in top spot in the NHL. Head coach Mike Yeo had them playing a tight, scrappy and defensive-oriented game that was highly successful until injuries and the law of averages caught up.  By adding some more talented pieces to a solid core, there’s major belief the Wild will be back in the postseason in 2012-13.

Whatever the case, this should be one of the most highly anticipated seasons in franchise history…if not the most.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Wild’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

  1. thenewsmixer - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    For the record, Zanon was traded at the deadline last year.

    • Mike Halford - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Good catch, thanks. I went off the tracker ( which, oddly enough, has Zanon’s previous team as the Wild. I guess I, like many, overlooked his stint as a Bruin. D’oh.

      • thenewsmixer - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:52 PM

        Truth be told, I thought he fell of the face of the Earth before the season started… even when he wasn’t scratched, he was invisible on the ice as people just skated right around him.

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        Lol, it’s pretty easy to be overlooked when your only skill is a lack of self-preservation.

  2. lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    What more needs to be said? Devils/Preds fans are gonna hate, Wings/Flyers/Pens fans are gonna poo-poo them while secretly crying themselves to sleep, and the Ken Hitchcocks of the league are gonna recognize the Wild for what they are: a rising contender. Cup win this year? Not very likely. Playoffs? It would be a shocker if they didn’t get in. The opinions, stats, and banter regarding their acquisitions has been the story of this year’s silly season. Everything else that’s happened, CBA negotiations aside, has been mere peripheral sideshows.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      …oh, and Weber. I suppose his situation had been more than a sideshow too.

    • polegojim - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      Lost Puppy – the Wild did WONDERFULLY!!! And that coming from a Wings Fan.

      I’m VERY interested to see the ROI – and it BETTER be good.

      For almost 200 MIL… they better freaking be contending for THE Cup in 2012-13.

      If you or other Wild fans accept anything less… turn in your balls WITH your skates at the gate!

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 11:15 PM

        While I, and other Wild fans I’m sure, appreciate the sentiment, most Wild fans don’t really expect them to be a Cup contender this year. While a championship this year isn’t out of the realm of possibility, I think that expectation will become more serious within the next 3-5 years once the rest of our prospects begin to mature. The Wild fans I’ve talked to have done a pretty good job of being realistic, but they can barely contain their enthusiasm and excitement for what’s hopefully in store for the next decade or so.

  3. mathieug79 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I know the Florida panthers were rank first overall in prospects (can’t remember if it was Hockey news). After seeing the prospects the Minnesota wilds have coming, this team will be good for a long time. With the likes of Granlund, Phillips, Coyle, Hackett, Brodin, Cuma, Dumba, ect. I can’t see why this team was not Rank #1 in prospects. Parise, Suter, koivu will all be showered with great young kids in the next few years. I think this team is moving in the right direction, unlike the other expansion team THE COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS!!

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:34 PM

      Which is the main reason they signed here.

      • mathieug79 - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:44 PM

        agreed, I am a Lightning fan, and I would love to have your prospects. Stevie Y has done a tremendous job rebuilding the team. We also have great prospects, but they are 1-2 or maybe 3 years removed from making the big club. Most of the Wild prospects are ready for the big show!!

  4. elvispocomo - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I’m not sure how they could be anything but better after adding two big names without similarly significant losses. How much better remains to be seen as they still have to pass LA, Van, StL, Chi, etc to get a reasonable spot. I can see them pushing teams like Det or Nash after they haven’t improved (and Pho if they lose Doan) and they might have done enough to not worry as much about the rest of the NW after Van, but we’ll see what team shows up.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 8, 2012 at 1:42 AM

      A reasonable spot would be top 8, ask the Kings.

  5. sknut - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    I am really excited to see the youngsters, Granlund, Brodin, Croyle etc..Even if a couple don’t pan out the Wild has never had this sort of depth with the youngsters. Fletcher and co. have done a great job rebuilding the franchise.

  6. schubie95 - Aug 7, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    well… first of all the wild I.believe will be the 3 seed if they stay healthy

  7. comeonnowguys - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    So how many of the 6 people that voted “The Same” or “Worse” are Red Wing, Penguin or Flyer fans?

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      Come on, you know that answer to that.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:00 PM


  8. mattsg22 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    You forgot to mention mikael granlund.

  9. vindicatus - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    I find it hilarious that all of a sudden after signing two UFAs (who have never won anything, mind you) the Wild are suddenly contenders after going years without making the playoffs.

    Suter and Parise are overrated, and now so is the Wild apparently.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      I find it hilarious that you haven’t paid any attention to the fact that they’re hardly the only players that are going to make a difference on this team, and that you apparently seem to have overlooked their prospect pool. We were excited before Parise and Suter showed up. The Independence Day Signing just sent us into sheer unadulterated exuberance.

    • porkchopexpress1969 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Just give them the cup. There team is sooo awesome. No need to compete. Wild fans are laughable.

  10. purpleguy - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Someone needs to get this vindicatus dude a chocolate chip cookie, cold glass of milk and a pat on the back from his mommy to try and overcome the ongoing bitterness issues we are constantly stuck reading on these posts. And the poll was pretty weak — everyone knows the team will be better — even the logically-challenged, bile-spilling vindicatus would likely agree with that. Instead, the issue should be if they make the playoffs or how far they will go.

  11. dayno66 - Aug 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    From what I’ve read, Detroit fans are the ones really spewing venom at suter and parise. Pens and flyers fans seem to be pretty nonchalant about the whole thing.

  12. vindicatus - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Yeah the Wild have been a joke for their entire existence, but stating the obvious means I’m just spewing bile.

    • porkchopexpress1969 - Aug 7, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      Amen brother….

  13. sharksfan97 - Aug 7, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Good for Minny! Great fans and great hockey state! I wish them nothing but the best, except when they play my Sharks.

  14. ray2013 - Aug 7, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I recall not that long ago, Zack Kassian was the next great NHL power forward and untouchable. He has since been traded, and he’s now being talked about as a bottom-6 forward (at least in the articles I’ve read). So looking beyond the hype, how many of these prospects are going to be bonafide NHLers, top-6 forwards, future All-Stars? And don’t say all of them, because that happens once in a decade.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM

      Well being that the Wild never had Zach Kasian…

      • ray2013 - Aug 8, 2012 at 3:14 AM

        The point was, he was a very highly touted prospect with a very high celing, until he actually started playing in the NHL. While the Wild has a number of highly touted prospects, until they play a year or two and contribute, it’s going to be tough to say where they are actually going to fit in for the Wild. Not all of them are going to be future stars.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:31 PM

        Your right not all of them, but the ones that are highly touted, are going up against current NHLers in World Championships, etc, etc, and seem to be holding up on their own merits.

  15. blomfeld - Aug 8, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Well I voted that they’ll be “better” …

    Clearly the Wild are trending upward which is a good thing, given that the Canucks have been “Masters of the House” in the NW for too many years now. In fact, the days of Vancouver’s “carte blanche” ownership of that division are probably now gone forever … and I say that, despite the emergence of Cory Schneider from the “long & dark” shadow cast by Roberto Luongo and his minions. At any rate, the Wild have “stepped up” and put their money where their mouth is … and for that you have to give them credit ! I also give credit to the Oilers for making a concerted effort with their “youth” movement. As for the Avalanche and Flames ? … well at least the former are trying, but God help those poor souls in Calgary ! So “good on you” Minnesota and I for one wish you all the very best ! :)

    Blomfeld’s Prediction for the NW Division in 2012-13 …

    1) Minnesota @ 102 points
    2) Edmonton @ 93 points
    3) Vancouver @ 88 points
    4) Colorado @ 84 points
    5) Calgary @ 56 points

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