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Article: The Wild Need To Rebuild But Can't

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Tony, barring BG being a miracle worker and finding stars that will play for peanuts I just don't see where they can do anything else but try to rebuild. Getting rid of players that didn't produce compared to what they were payed and introducing young guys (aka rebuild) is about all they can do. Trying to rerun this years team for another first round exit isn't going to help nor would it placate KK97. Maybe redoing the coaching staff would be able to regain momentum but that is a lot to bet on.

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I don't think the Wild needs to consider trading Kaprizov. That would likely push back their ability to be competitive by a few more years. Also, don't know that it's fair to say, "last year, he had a once-in-a-career postseason." 

He had a nice playoffs in 2022, but I believe he could have a few like that in his career.

The Wild certainly could trade Kaprizov, and some key defensemen, to bottom out the roster and hope for a couple top 10 picks, but it just pushes back how soon you can expect them to be competitive. I suppose they might be able to get a young star that hasn't quite blossomed along with some picks, and maybe not push out their plans to return to being competitive too far. Still don't think Guerin would consider that route.

I doubt Eriksson Ek and Boldy want to struggle through a couple losing seasons on long-term contracts and not see the playoffs for a while.

Also, the Fiala trade returned Faber and Ohgren, not just Faber. Ohgren is suggested to be an Eriksson Ek style of player. Ohgren had a somewhat modest regular season, which I've heard may have been impacted by an injury he was playing through. I believe he's leading his veteran team in playoff goals, at age 19, and is 3rd in playoff points.

Faber has played in 2 regular season games and 6 playoff games. So far, his skating looks fantastic and opponents have failed to record even 1 goal against his line in 127 minutes of NHL ice time. Faber's already showing excellent NHL ability, and Ohgren might be a key player for the Wild in 25-26, when this team is ready to really compete.

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They can it’ll just take a few years.  Time to bite the bullet is now.

Clean out the coaching staff and hire Spencer Carbery as the new head coach.

Clean out Zuccarello, Folgino, Fleury, and this will unpopular, but Spurgeon.  Sign Gustavsson and a decent center for the first line.  Move Hartman to a wing.  Let guys like Rossi, Beckman, and Addison play.

Take your lumps for a year and two, get some high draft picks, and hope the young guys develop and the Russians make it over.  You can potentially have something special and sustainable in 2-3 years while hanging onto Kaprisov, Boldy, and Ek.

Honestly, at this point, continuing to run this thing back year after year fits the definition of insanity.  Make some bold moves.  If it came down to it, I’d rather blow it up completely and trade Kaprisov and Ek for hauls rather continue this crap show with Dean at the helm.

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The Wild could make the playoffs again, or be sellers with a Moose, a Grizzle, and a Norwegian Hobbit plus a Flower to trade. Now I don’t think you’d get a bunch of 1sts but you’d get some picks I bet.

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I don't feel like the Wild are (I refuse 100% to use "is" as I think the Wild are a team rather than the Wild is a singular entity, lol) past their best chances or needing a rebuild.

I think the Wild are in the middle of a build, but a build which has been severely hampered by the brutal and unfair penalties from the buyouts. The poorly run NHL chose to make an example out of the Wild and I'm still not over it. Crippling a franchise with a devoted and important fanbase is despicable.

Anyway, all that aside, the Wild need to get results from their prospects. I follow baseball closer than hockey and the pattern of re-building is somewhat similar. The Wild are operating like a small market MLB team right now, and they can be successful that way, they just have a lot less room for mistakes and they need their depth players to perform. The biggest difference between hockey and baseball is a single player can make or break a team. The Wild have a true superstar in Kaprizov. I think Kaprizov and Eriksson-Ek are just as good as the Koivu and Gaborik combination was, though it was super short lived. Having both Kaprizov likely not 100% and Eriksoon-Ek literally trying to play with a broken leg hurt the Wild immensely. It's night and day.

Now is the time to find out how the Wild prospects can play. If they don't pan out, the Wild are probably going nowhere and will need to rebuild again. If the Wild do well with development and Kaprizov and Eriksson-Ek stay healthy, they'll be more dangerous next year than this year regardless of whether or not our netminder stats take a little step back.

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20 hours ago, Beast said:

Clean out the coaching staff and hire Spencer Carbery as the new head coach.

Who is Spencer Carbery? This is a name I wasn't familiar with.

Spencer Carbery had a career in lower level hockey as a player.  I think he reached the E level where he topped out. He became the youngest head coach in the E when he took over the SC Stingrays at 29. He has made his way up the rankings, head coaching in the OHL, and is an assistant coach in Toronto under my favorite: Sheldon Keefe.

I haven't seen his coaching record, but enough people have seen him and keep promoting him. I'm not sure I'm convinced he's ready yet for an N head job, but it is an interesting thought. Carbery is only 42 years old. I wouldn't mind a young head coach, but we had that in Richards and Yeo and it didn't end well. 

Is Carbery simply another starter coach? He doesn't have a track record as a trophy coach. Will Carbery make adjustments on the fly? Does he value analytics and speed and skill? I don't know, Keefe did but just won his 1st playoff series in the N.  

Beast, have you got any more on him?

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19 hours ago, bean5302 said:

the Wild need to get results from their prospects. I follow baseball closer than hockey and the pattern of re-building is somewhat similar. The Wild are operating like a small market MLB team right now, and they can be successful that way, they just have a lot less room for mistakes and they need their depth players to perform.

This is a strong comparison. With the difference being that the Wild, due to a hard cap, can only spend to $15m of the cap height, they must choose to have value contracts and lock up their young stars. We see this in Kaprizov, Ek, Boldy, Brodin, Spurgeon. 

Now, how to get value:

  1. Find players who just need a chance and aren't getting it in their current situation.
  2. Youth, these guys are always cheaper, though unproven.
  3. Find an undrafted superstar in another league.

Guerin has done a good job with #1. Hartman, Gustavsson, Gaudreau, and taking a chance on Steel are good. He also took chances on Jost and Pitlick, though they didn't work out. He identified and swapped guys who weren't going to resign here getting something for them.

Duhaime, Dewar, Shaw, Faber, Addison represent the youth. He is disciplined to not promoting players full time that aren't ready yet. He believes players need confidence over hard lessons.  He believes in A development. Many of these guys are close but not ready yet.

We just haven't found the next Artemi Panarin yet. It might also be nice to find the next Niklas Backstrom. 

Now, the crux of the article is about a rebuild, and the need for it. I find this interesting, because I believe we are knee deep in the middle of it. Rebuilds generally take 5 years from the beginning to the end. Our rebuilt players aren't here yet, at least most of them. Not all of them we can see, since they're not in the A. But the rebuild started with the buyouts.

We are still in stage 1 of this plan, where it's about accumulating assets. The last 2 drafts have seen us with multiple 1st round picks. This draft sees us with 1 1st & 2 2nds. What is missing in our prospect pool are true Cs. Some teams have these, and are missing Ds and Ws. I believe we need to identify those teams, and pay what they need to receive what we need. 

Stage 2 is very close to being implemented. This is the transition stage where the prospects become players and then have to learn to win. Since the playoffs are still very important to the 1 guy who matters for Shooter, I believe stage 2 will be more like a trickle than wholesale changes. What wouldn't surprise me is to see us using the Zucker Freeway a lot more next season. We still have a lot of placeholders which will need to be replaced, but these guys are still better than the guys slated to replace them. 

Stage 3 will be the completion of the transition, with the young guys having learned what it takes to win in the N. This is where I see this organization at '25-26. Some players will be rewarded for their play. Kaprizov will likely get resigned in this window. We will also have money to spend on holes we may have, and, the salary cap will have exploded upwards for all franchises.  I expect our new defenders to be in place here, as well as the battery of Goose2/The Wall, and most of our new forwards to be ready. Can we pluck a highly rated UFA center at this time? Draisaitl becomes a UFA.

Rebuild does not equal tank, as many people seem to think. Rebuild means completely overhauling the roster. It happened at a very good time for the organization as OCL wanted playoff invitations. If Brackett was right about his picks in the Covid era and we are one of the few organizations that drafted well during that time, regardless of where we picked, we could be in line for a very, very good team at that point. 

As for now, we will role out a similar team to last season, filling in placeholders who have left, trading away pieces that don't fit. Like Beast, I would seriously look at trading out Zuccarello in this final year. I would look at moving, at this point in time, an underpaid Spurgeon, and I'd look to see what interest Foligno has around the league. I'd also use Addison's upside in a trade to acquire something we don't have, centers.

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I agree with that pretty much everything you said Mnfan, with exception of getting rid of Spurgeon. He’s the team captain, brings a lot to the chemistry of the group and if they pay any attention (looking at you Addison) he can help our young defensemen develop immensely (I have a sense Faber is going to really benefit from paying with him). 

I would like to see if we can bundle a 1st and Addison for a really solid C prospect, or make the same trade to move up the in the draft to get one. We majorly need help in that area. Will Rossi pan out? He might at this point, but we can’t count on it too much right now.

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