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  • First Line Production: Do the Wild Have it?



    These point totals are based on NHL.com's website- sort by position, and it displays 30 players.


    First Line Centers

    All Situations: 55-86 points
    Even Strength: 39-60 points

    Because of how we have established our point totals, there are precisely 30 "first-line" centers in the NHL. They aren't, however, generating points like some people think they are or should be. The Wild have no centers that meet the criteria, neither at even strength nor all situations. Believe it or not, Koivu and Granlund produced an almost identical 28 and 29 points respectively at even strength.

    In other words, though Koivu does a lot of things well, point production isn't one of them. That's not surprising, and a point-producing center has been a "need" for the Wild for some time now.


    First Line Left Wingers:

    All Situations: 42-87 points
    Even Strength: 33-59 points


    First Line Right Wingers

    All Situations: 42-81 points
    Even Strength: 29-55 points

    Minnesota has a number of quality right wingers; it's maybe the strongest forward position on their roster. This means that the right wingers are trade bait, especially if they are not ready to contribute at the NHL level; Iowa Wild, I'm looking at you.


    Second Line Centers

    All Situations: 39-55 points
    Even Strength: 31-39 points

    We've known our centers were a weakness for a while, and this just confirms it; the Wild barely have a second line center in terms of production... an upgrade is needed.


    Second Line Left Wingers

    All Situations: 26-42 points
    Even Strength: 22-32 points


    Second Line Right Wingers

    All Situations: 26-41 points
    Even Strength: 19-29 points

    As we've established, Right Wing is where Minnesota has some depth, with Chris Stewart, Nino Niederreiter, and Justin Fontaine all qualifying here in all situations and at even strength. Albeit, Stewart is an unrestricted free agent after this season, but even with his loss that's Nino, Fontaine, Zucker, and Pommer all producing like top-2 wingers. On another note, we should all pray that neither Fontaine nor Nino get traded (looking at you, GMCF)


    And the Rest...

    I could go on through third and fourth liners, but the pattern is clear; the Wild have no really productive centers, a few good left wing players, and the right wing is deep. This isn't necessarily news, but what might be surprising is just how good our RW's were.

    Ultimately, the Wild don't have a ton of room below the cap to spend on a big free agent splash. They'll have to hope their younger players develop, and they can find a trade for some center depth. If they don't, expect another year of mediocre scoring from our centermen.

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