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Hockey Wilderness

What If?

What would happen if the Wild decided '24 was youth movement year? What if we started on our roster rookies like Khusnutdinov, Ohgren, Wallstedt, Yurov, Hunt, Chisholm? What if Heidt was in that picture too?

We'd already have young players in Boldy, Rossi, maybe Shaw, Faber in the mix. Kaprizov and Ek would be in their prime. That's 13 young players that can be paired with 9 vets. I'm pretty sure I'm missing a player too.

Would that amount of youth infusion take us back to the playoffs? I say playoffs, because I wouldn't expect this roster to contend that young. There are also a couple of depth guys in Bankier and Milne who, with a big offseason, could make some noise in training camp. 

Lastly, what would the fanbase think of going full youth movement? Would they support the team even though mistakes will happen? Will they be loud at home helping the team re-establish home ice advantage? Will they show up? 

I'd rather start out this way next season, save cap room for the TDL and let these kids gel together. At least you'll know where your holes are. 

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Based on what we've seen from the GM and Owner, the playoffs are the goal.

MN has signed enough vets like Hartman, Foligno, Zuccarello, Fleury, that you know they're gonna be in the lineup. 

Our best hope is to see a boost with with young players who quickly establish themselves that bump NoJo, Fred, Merrill, etc. Yurov or Heidt both have a unique potential to replace a washed up wing with a neck-beard. (Skilled L2 type guys.) 

I like the Wild's youth movement but they've gotta prove themselves by pushing established guys out. Many of the guys in the Beckman, Walker, Milne, and that category need to work out and get stronger. I think you'd agree. Maroon is a great example of a guy who spent a handful of years in the AHL developing a pro-style game & beard despite not being the fastest skater or ultimate skilled finesse-man. Perhaps the Wild have some of those guys? We need to see it this Fall at camp. 

The current group of Knudi, Rossi, Ogie, and Fabes looks very promising and we should be happy to see them arrive this year. At the same time I wonder how many can/will the Wild keep and will the Summer, draft, and UFA period shakeup our current projections? 

We know Wallstedt is gonna play more games and is the goalie of the future. Faber is looking like a future "C". Rossi has proved himself and has some momentum & confidence building. Knudi & Ogie got their feet wet but have a ways to go. Yurov looks like he might conquer the KHL. These are all nice developments and the Wild should be pleased. At the same time let's not go full Toronto Maple Leafs and begin crowning everyone superstars and build a youth movement team that doesn't know how to get past the first round either. 

My guess is that we will see a shakeup this Summer. Guerin has been pretty conservative so far related to draft and UFA stuff. We're just entering the period where some new money comes with the cap increase and the prospect pool isn't empty. That's some opportunity Guerin didn't have til now AND this season illuminated some weaknesses. I believe that's gonna lead to somewhat of a shuffle to position for the 2025-26 go-time when Zuccarello, NoJo, Fleury, and Merrill are likely all history. This will be an important year coming up for AHL players to prove they're ready to leave that league behind. If Lambos, Hunt, Beckman, Milne, or the new Czech goalie wanna make it in the NHL, let's see some killer results in Des Moines...


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