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Article: The Wild Are Depending On Bouncebacks To Rescue Their Secondary Scoring


Tony Abbott
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Collectively, the Wild also had about 195 games from the group of Lettieri, Duhaime, Lucchini, Shaw, Beckman, Petan, Khaira, Raska, and Sammy Walker.

That collection of guys combined for 12 goals on the season, with 5 from Lettieri, 4 from Duhaime, 2 from Lucchini, and 1 from Shaw.

Khusnutdinov and Ohgren combined for 2 goals in 20 games, and hopefully can build upon that to significantly outpace those 4th line guys from the prior year. And Trenin might deliver more goals than most guys outside the top 6.

The Wild definitely need to score more this season, and defend better. We'll see how good Hynes is this year. If Gaudreau only reaches 12 goals in regulation/OT, but rediscovers his shootout touch, that could still impact the standings points as well. The Wild were not strong in shootouts, nor penalty shots, last year.

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The Wild were about 15-20 goals for and 20-25 goals against away from the top 10 teams.  The goals don't really seem that insurmountable.  The main thing is if the defense and goaltending (i.e. PK not being dogshit) improve enough that a 20th place team can be something 13-15th in GA and 18-22nd in PK%.  Those improvements would seem pretty slight, but doable.

If you get Spurgeon back to his usual 30-40 pts, that also adds to things.  Maybe being reasonable and a 20-25 pt season is the best he gets to coming off the injury.  That's 15-20 more points than he got last year.  It would equal what you pretty much got from the Addison/Goligoski/Merrill trio.  Maybe he gets 30-40.  Then again, I would take Spurgeon's defensive ability as a net positive.

Asking the Hartmans/Folignos/Zuccs to do it alone is missing the forest for the trees.

Edited by Citizen Strife
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1 hour ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

Khusnutdinov and Ohgren combined for 2 goals in 20 games, and hopefully can build upon that to significantly outpace those 4th line guys from the prior year. And Trenin might deliver more goals than most guys outside the top 6.

And just as important is having the 3rd and 4th liners actually playing on those lines instead of having to play a lot of top-6 minutes. Frauddie and NoJo playing bottom 6 is fine. I'm okay moving them up to the top 6 temporarily if guys get hurt or lines need to be shuffled temporarily.

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7 minutes ago, FredJohnson said:

Yeah, 2022-23 was such a mirage.

Truth bomb alert!!

Hartman/Zuc/Foligno/Fraud/Nojo

I'd argue Hartman is the only one on this list who has a chance to re-visit his 22-23 pt totals.  Yes, I'm a Hartzy fan.

Zuc is a ghost now.  He's only relevant if stapled to 97 and I'd guess that's why Heinzy is talking about moving him back to 1st line.  Need to get something out of Zuc.  I still believe it's 50/50 that he gets dealt before season starts.

Foligno's 22-23 was lightning in a bottle.  That was a one season aberation and he's reverted back to the player he's always been.  Hope his Corsi score is high this year whatever that means because it sure doesn't show up in the eye test.

Fraud: one season aberation.  This is dead money until Evason gets a job and there's a sucker to take him off our hands.

Nojo: more dead money.  I expect him to have a pulse this year but either way he's the most hated barrell breezer'd jofa jockey in this lineup. 

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Billy has taken the excitement out of this organization. I could care less if the misfits rebound . All that means is they flame out in first round.  Watching a Freddy g and Jo Jo team is ridiculous an thats  what the wild are.  Two guys who don’t deserve to be here getting every opportunity to waste the fans money.  I’m not going to the games this year or will I pay for Bally’s crap app. 20 + years of watching wild religiously is done.  That’s how unwatchable Billy’s rosters have become . 
   Lapanta was talking the wilds window is in 3-4 years. What the f ——  have they been doing during Billy’s tenure ? Nothing. They have no plan coming out of buyouts. There little  pr machine lapanta is now out there trying to buy Billy more time. Ridiculous. Fire Billy 

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7 minutes ago, Dean said:

There little  pr machine lapanta

For the record I'm a big fan of the Panther...BUT I will admit that it's obvious he's on the Wild payroll.  He is such an apologist for Guerin and the players that it becomes difficult to listen.  Luckily Russo's negativity balances the Panther's "but let's see what happens next year" takes.  

Ryan "Carts" Carter is the best hockey mind in the market IMO.  Russo and Judd are more hockey gossip reporter than hockey analyst reporter.  Jesse from Bar Down Beatuies predicted we could trade Rossi to CBJ for Fantilli+pick.  And she calls herself a hockey beat writer.  Yikes

#hottakeThursday

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Funny.  I'm on LaPanta's side, because Russo (like many here) is just insufferable.  Probably a nice guy and all when NOT on Twitter, but that might be the issue.  Guerin's going to be fired if the Wallstedt/Buium/Yurov/Heidt/Ohgren stuff doesn't pan out, so you'll get your wish either way. 

That said though, being angry must be a nice luxury.  Gee, sure is such a shame 1-2 prospects like Addison didn't work when Rossi did...no wait. when that Faber trade...no, fuck, that kinda worked out too.

Dunno about you, but I can still afford to be patient.  I can laugh it off to a little while. 

*Not gonna turn this into a told you so, even if I kinda want to.  I have a couple years to wait on that*

Edited by Citizen Strife
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"Winning does solve everything - Joe Sakic" - Micheal Scott

Quote

Captain Jared Spurgeon was limited to 16 games. Marcus Foligno missed 27 and played a heck of a lot more hurt. Jonas Brodin missed 20 games. Mats Zuccarello missed 13 games (12 to injury). Kirill Kaprizov and Freddy Gaudreau sustained rib injuries, with the latter affected by them all season. Pat Maroon was dealing with a back injury that ultimately needed surgery. Matt Boldy had an AC joint injury at the start of the season that clearly hampered him until around the time John Hynes came aboard, as he scored 28 of his 29 goals after the new coach’s hiring. Marc-Andre Fleury dealt with hip issues at the start of the season, and Filip Gustavsson dealt with groin issues before midseason. Jake Middleton needed offseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

Injuries can completely derail careers (somebody take V1ctor Rask's kitchen knife away...).

I'm inclined to be optimistic that these guys are going to be healthier this season with some of these nagging issues resolved.  If we get a full season of a healthy Boldy + return to form of Foligno (core muscle surgery) and FreddyG (ribs) with some impact/depth provided by the youngsters should get us close to being a fringe playoff team for our annual first round exit.  I mean, this team was a fringe playoff team last season...

I want to watch some meaningful hockey this season, or at least watch 60 minutes of competitive hockey.  I think the group they're going to ice this year is going to do that...or not, but that's why they play the games.

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The next two seasons (and quite possibly the entire Guerin era) are going to be defined by whether or not Kap signs an extension. Guerin’s job. The Wild’s cap. The prospect pool, the long contracts to replaceable players, the first round exits, and the buyouts. It’s going to turn on whether Kap is convinced that he should tag his bag of money from the Wild, or if he’s going to ask for a trade/run his contract down to FA (with a FMC Kap has all the leverage there).

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1 hour ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

Wonder if they suspect 2026 will be a strong draft year or if they were just getting higher round picks for pushing out an extra year?

I’m guessing Wild Management uses a few of those picks to add players at the trade deadline during our peak playoff window years. 

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2 hours ago, Imyourhuckleberry said:

Puckpedia says the Wild have an extra pick in the 2026 draft for rounds 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Guerin loaded up on that draft with all of his transactions last year. Wonder if they suspect 2026 will be a strong draft year or if they were just getting higher round picks for pushing out an extra year?

It’s for the all-in push in ‘25-‘26. Both to acquire and likely pay off teams to take some ‘rental’ contracts. 

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Minnesota has all but Johansson signed for the next two seasons, and all have trade protections that make them unmovable. The Wild are stuck here and need these players to return to their former glory.

That's going to be extremely difficult. Not only will all these players be in their 30s by the time the season starts (Happy 30th on September 20 to Hartman, btw), but the seasons the Wild are counting on each to repeat are generally pretty crazy outliers. Forget probable; is it even possible for these players to repeat their peaks?

I don't think anyone is expecting these guys to have career years again. Or at least I would hope not. 

Is it really too much to expect Freddy to improve from his 4.8% shooting last year though? I don't think so. Mats Zuccarello also only shot at 6.9% (nice) when the last 4 years he was generally a 14% hitter. Those two were twice as bad as they usually are. If they bounce back to normal, or get near it, then that's more goals.

If the goalies play better than they did last year, even a couple handful of goals could be the difference between making the playoffs and not. And, as you say, that's not counting on any improvement from guys who were just getting their first taste of the league last year. I think there's certainly reason for optimism to expect a bounceback, just as there was valid reason to expect a guy like Foligno not to be able to repeat that 23-goal season in following years. 

Johansson is the biggest wildcard in my opinion. He's pretty much up and down his whole career.

If we get good-Mojo who's hunting for a new deal, then he's absolutely a viable top-6 forward who should be able to get us 20 goals or so. If we get the last year version, then he's probably traded by the TDL for peanuts and its addition by subtraction imo. It certainly wouldn't be unheard of; Zuccarello went from 11 goals in 2020 (granted a shorter season) to over 20 each of the next 2 years at the same age that Johansson is about to be. 

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Dean did well to get record seasons out of aging guys. They were outliers. Then we signed contracts based on that being their production giving them term and trade clauses. 

Bad management on Guerin's part to give 4 30+ players term but what's done is done. I don't have faith in the old boys to return to peak form. That would be ridiculously optimistic to expect that. 

I do have excitement for the young guns on the team though. Rossi will continue to get better. Ohgren already showed production in his short stint and I think will contribute goals to the cause. Possibly even 30pts. Dinov hasn't found his scoring touch quote yet but he could gain stride as the KHL to NHL is still a far jump. 

Above combined with our defense coming into the season healthy in addition to Faber having another year under his belt looks positive. I think the scare of being traded away will light a fire under the Bus and he will return to form.

In goal I do see Fleury regressing. No man can hide from father time and he's hid for longer than most. The bright side is Wallstedt should be able to step in at least at a replacement level, leaving our tandem set for next year. I just hope Fleury's pride doesn't get in the way of putting him on LTIR.

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16 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Nice article with the exception of the frequently repeated lie that they are not tradable.  Not sure why people keeping saying that.

They're tradeable with terms, and you may have to send along other assets for teams to take the contracts. Tradeable but likely not easy.

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