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Article: The Wild Has A Chance To Be Everyone’s Favorite Team Down the Stretch

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It would be fun to catch them or the Kings. March has certainly, on paper with the schedule, given us the opportunity to catch them. Let's see if they can do it!

Let's Go Wild!

Tonight it's the Blues. I think we owe them a loss.

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Wild still have one of the 5 least difficult schedules, but 2 games each against Vegas, LA, and Colorado. Also 2 games against the Blues, who are slightly above .500 and those 4 points could be crucial.

Given that the Wild might not be bad enough to get a top 3 draft pick even if they win the lottery, it should be more exciting to see them lock up the last playoff spot in the West.

Vegas and the Wild could both overtake the Kings, but the Kings put themselves 2 points up on Vegas last night by destroying Bedard's Blackhawks 5-0 with T-Bot standing strong in goal for his 3rd shutout on the year.

The Kings(5th) are right next to the Wild(4th) in remaining schedule difficulty while Vegas is closer to an average difficulty(13th least difficult). Vegas is one of just 4 teams off on Saturday, and will be hosting NJ and TB their next 2.

Could be a very entertaining race to the finish line. Hopefully Dino shines bright & Eriksson Ek(day-to-day) is healthy and strong for the final push this season.

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Biggest game of the season this evening. 

Doug Armstrong just named GM for Canada. That means he and Guerin will be rivals outside the Central division too. 

Tonight's game has to feel like a playoff game. Minnesota has to play a really smart, disciplined game. Binnington has been good lately. STL has Wild killers. MN will need big performances from their guys with Ek out...

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The Wild have played more games than a majority of the league, so them sitting closer to the playoffs than top 10 in lottery odds is somewhat precarious. We'll see if any of those teams with fewer games played passes them in the standing points.

The Capitals, Islanders, and Blues could pass them with wins in their "games in hand". The Flames could get within a point, so wouldn't be shocking for them to pass by either if the Wild have even a small skid.

Definitely need to play better than they did in St. Louis to make the playoffs, even though they nearly came away with 2 points anyway. Not sure why Boldy took a 2 minute shift in OT. He's good, but someone with fresh legs has got to be better than the effort he had remaining at that point.

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I really just don't understand this season. It seems like every time there is a big game with a central division opponent, the Wild struggle. Why is it that this year they are not competitive in their own division?

Looking at the roster, the only thing I can come up with is size. We have, for the most part, moved some guys out and replaced them with much smaller players. Was Sturm that important of a center? 

I'm convinced we need far more >200 lb. players. I'm not saying get rid of Rossi and Dino, but I am saying we've got too many guys in the 180 category and those guys need to be replaced with 20+ lb. players. With the players we've got, and their size, we simply cannot compete where we're giving away 20 lbs. almost by the man. 

That said, I thought we did knock around some Blues players last night, and it looked like a lot more of them were sliding on the ice than our guys. 

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1 hour ago, mnfaninnc said:

Looking at the roster, the only thing I can come up with is size.

We're definitely the shortest in our division, with more under 6'0" players than any other team (8x), and the second lightest team (the Coyotes are lighter). A quick breakdown of our rivals in the Central Division (all stats from NHL.com and omits goalies):

  • Arizona Coyotes:
    Average Height: 6'0.85"
    Average Weight: 192.2 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'0.46" and 190.38 lb
    Defense Average: 6'1.57" and 195.57 lb
    Average Age: 25.55 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 0x
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 6x (Cooley: 5'8", Carcone: 5'9", Keller: 5'10", Kerfoot: 5'11", Maccellini: 5'11", and Soderstrom: 5'11")
  • Chicago Blackhawks:
    Average Height: 6'1.45"
    Average Weight: 198.68 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'0.2" and 193.53 lb
    Defense Average: 6'4.14" and 209.71 lb
    Average Age: 27
    Number of Players +32 yo: 5x (Foligno: 36, Johnson: 33, Hall: 32, Tinordi: 32, Zaitzev: 32)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 3x (Blackwell: 5'9", Bedard: 5'10", Johnson: 5'8")
  • Colorado Avalanche:
    Average Height: 6'0.62"
    Average Weight: 195.19 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'0.64" and 194.35 lb
    Defense Average: 6'0.57" and 196.86 lb
    Average Age: 28.85 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 3x (Parise: 39, Johnson: 37, Cogliano: 36)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 7x (Cogliano: 5'10", Drouin: 5'11", Kiviranta: 5'11", Lehkonen: 5'11", Parise: 5'11", Girad: 5'11", Walker: 5'11")
  • Dallas Stars:
    Average Height: 6'2.2"
    Average Weight: 201.75 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'1.85" and 200.77 lb
    Defense Average: 6'2.85" and 203.57 lb
    Average Age: 29.35 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 8x (Suter: 39, Pavelski: 39, Dadonov: 35, Smith: 34, Benn: 34, Tanev: 34 Duchene: 33, and Seguin: 32)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 0x
  • Minnesota Wild:
    Average Height: 6'0.26"
    Average Weight: 194.04 lb
    Forwards Average: 5'11.79" and 192.07 lb
    Defense Average: 6'1" and 197.11 lb
    Average Age: 28.35 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 7x (Goligoski: 38, Zucarello: 36, Spurgeon: 34, Bogosian: 33, Johansson: 33, Foligno: 32, and Merrill: 32)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 8x (Zucarello: 5'8", Spurgeon: 5'9", Rossi: 5'9", Kaprizov: 5'10", Lettieri: 5'10", Shaw: 5'10", Khustnutdinov: 5'11", and Goligoski: 5'11")
  • Nashville Predators:
    Average Height: 6'0.95"
    Average Weight: 198.86 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'1.14" and 197.5 lb
    Defense Average: 6'0.625" and 201.25 lb
    Average Age: 28.59 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 7x (McDonagh: 34, Schenn: 34, Nyquist: 34, Josi: 33, O'Reilly: 33, Barrie: 32, Zucker: 32)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 6x (Anderson-Dolan: 5'11", Beauvillier: 5'11", Nyquist: 5'11", Zucker: 5'11", Barrie: 5'11", Carrier: 5'11")
  • St. Louis Blues:
    Average Height: 6'1.13"
    Average Weight: 202.04 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'1.27" and 200.67 lb 
    Defense Average: 6'2.88" and 204.63 lb
    Average Age: 27.17 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 4 Krug (32), Schenn (32), Leddy (32), and Scandella (34)
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 2x (Walker: 5'9" + Krug: 5'9")
  • Winnipeg Jets:
    Average Height: 6'1.82"
    Average Weight: 201.4 lb
    Forwards Average: 6'1.78" 202.5 lb
    Defense Average: 6'2.09" and 205 lb
    Average Age: 28.08 yo
    Number of Players +32 yo: 2x 
    Number of Players Under 6'0": 1x (Perfetti: 5'11")


Here's the ranking of height / weight within our division:

  • Average Height (from shortest to tallest):
    Wild: 6'0.26"
    Avalanche: 6'0.62"
    Coyotes: 6'0.85"
    Predators: 6'0.95"
    Blues: 6'1.13"
    Blackhawks: 6'1.45"
    Jets: 6'1.82"
    Stars: 6'2.2"
  • Average Weight (from lightest to heaviest):
    Coyotes: 192.2 lb
    Wild: 194.04 lb
    Avalanche: 195.19 lb
    Blackhawks: 198.68 lb
    Predators: 198.86 lb
    Jets: 201.4 lb
    Stars: 201.75 lb
    Blues: 202.04 lb
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WSC knocked it out of the park! While the Wild are the 2nd lightest team, and I'm not sure if Maroon was counted in this, think about it for a minute.

This includes guys like Foligno, Middleton, and Bogosian who skew the height and weight up. What are guys are not doing is getting the weight and consequently strength up themselves.

So, the other guys in the central can out reach the Wild slightly and can out muscle them. But, the Wild are not the fastest skaters either, so they lose that possible advantage. 

The solution here is to add strength/weight in the offseason as a team. Look at the evidence in some of the players: Ek gained about 20-25 lbs. in 2 offseasons and became a beast. Rossi had 1 offseason of hard training, gaining 15 lbs. and look at the difference it has made. Collectively if the Vets would add 5 lbs. of muscle, and the kids 10 lbs., we are a little north of average in the division. 

Doing this is not necessarily fun, but it can be if the whole team buys in. At that point you get real encouragement, and if they invite the A guys to join them, that gets even more comradery going in the gym. 

But, MNfan, what about the guys going home for the summer? If you miss out on the playoffs with a playoff roster, it seems to me that spending a summer in MN is kind of an obligation you need to do. And, it seems like something you would want to do. I get there won't be 100% participation, but, there should be at least 80%. 

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