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  • Wilderness Walk: Wild Heading To Sweden Next Season


    Thomas Williams
    Image courtesy of © Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

    Your daily dose of Wild news, along with other interesting stories from around the NHL.

    The Minnesota Wild will be taking part in the 2023 NHL Global Series as part of their 2023-24 season. Along with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Ottawa Senators, the Wild will be flying overseas to Stockholm, Sweden and playing two regular season games (against the Leafs and Senators) at Avicii Arena.

    Those games will be taking place on Nov. 18 and 19, and will, obviously, count as real regular-season results.

    With Jonas Brodin and Joel Eriksson Ek on the team next year, and even having some of the top Swedish prospects in Jesper Wallstedt and Liam Öhgren, the Wild should have some solid support in Stockholm.

    Oh yeah, the Wild are about to play for their lives on Friday night in Game 6. That's also happening.

    That's Wild

    • Read more about the 2023 NHL Global Series and the history of it. [NHL dot com]
    • Game 5 was Wild GM Bill Guerin's worst nightmare. Preaching so much about "grit first" and how they are one of the toughest teams in the league, it was penalties that cost them that extremely important game. [Hockey Wilderness]
    • If the Wild lose this series, it will most likely be Matt Dumba's last game or two in a Wild sweater. As sad as that is, we know that his cemented pairing with Brodin will be going out on a high note as they have played lights-out this series. [Hockey Wilderness]
    • New shiny players for both the Wild and the Minnesota Timberwolves, same old result. [StarTribune]

    Off the trail...

    • A local tattoo shop is giving fans free tattoos at Vegas Golden Knights playoff games. [ESPN]
    • Wowza. The Florida Panthers beat the Boston Bruins at home to stay alive and make the series just a 3-2 lead for the Presidents' Trophy winners. [Yahoo Sports]
    • "It's not 1975." Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon was a little peeved after there was a missed penalty that then resulted in a Seattle Kraken goal, and the eventual 3-2 loss to Seattle that gives the underdogs a 3-2 lead in the series. [Sportsnet]
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    Game 5 was just brutal to watch. What made it worse was I was prepping for a colonoscopy when I watched it on Wednesday morning due to being blacked out.  Looks like I'll be blacked out for game 6 too.  

    1. I don't know what referees are watching, but that was not a 5 on Foligno.
    2. I disagree with the premise that penalties are killing us. While it might be splitting hairs, it's the PK that's killing us. We're going to get penalties, probably at least 3/game that we will be on the PK.  It doesn't help when some of our PK unit decides to take these penalties either.
    3. We are owed 2 10s and a 5 from the referee corps.  Anyone think we will ever collect?  
    4. What was most disappointing was not getting my pound of flesh out of the match. After going down 3-0, that was when the heavyweights needed to come out.  
    5. Anyone know why Sundqvist wasn't playing?  
    6. If we are suiting up Reaves, why isn't he doing Reaves' things? To me, he looks old and slow, I think this may be the end of the line for him.  
    7. 1st goal is so important. So, minutes into the game, referees decide once again to make bad calls and completely affect the outcome of the game.  To my count, they pretty much owe us 2 games.  
    8. Will this change? Not in the next 2 games. We will be in desperation mode, so the threat of becoming unglued is not there.  I do think we push it to 7 games and am hoping for a repeat of the Avs series, where Granny was the hero with an incredible goal! (anyone who wants to post that gif, it would be appreciated)

    I am starting to see some pretty pissed off responses.  I'm seeing fire Evason opinions, and some dissatisfaction with some players like Foligno.  Could it be that down the stretch, Evason got everything out of this team that they had?  It may very well be that with this current set of players, there is no upper gear. They overachieved again in the regular season.  This team is not that talented.  They will need to will themselves to win this series.  On paper, Dallas should win, but that's why we play the games.

    For those who were wishing to play Seattle, don't look now, but they're up 3-2 on the Avs with a home game to knock them out.  They have size on their back end, and the Avs are having trouble with that, as I suspected they would.  Seattle was a really good team with questionable goaltending.  If that changed, they were going to be a tough out! We don't really have that size.

    This last item will ruffle some feathers.  Spurgeon, our captain, has played very, very well, specifically in the regular season. However, his playoff performances have not matched up with the regular season.  Could it be time to part ways with him and try to get someone who is larger and offensively talented?  I ask because he's close to entering the age where he declines.  Defensemen decline a little later since they can usually anticipate better to make up for any physical decline.  He has an NMC. I think he'd be a better fit for Edmonton than Erik Karlsson.

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    Hmmm, just read the "Grit or reckless" article. Yet, for some reason the comments section got suspended after 1 comment? So, I'll post over here!

    1. Tom brings up some good points, but the Rossi one is a bit hard to swallow.  Exactly how do you bring a guy up to speed when he isn't playing like you want him to?  It is true that talent wise, he is our only top 6 C option with Ek out.  Simply put, however, until about the final week of the season, Rossi was spending way too much time gliding, stopped and with passes way to soft. It wasn't until his last game up here that he really started to use that quickness he has.  It wasn't until game 2 of Iowa's playoff series when we finally saw that skating. It's like something finally clicked in his mind, which is what we've been waiting for.
    2. Criticizing that Addison should have a role on the PP is simply wrong.  Who do you want to remove from the lineup?  Addison can't play defense and would be completely abused in this series.  Carrying him just for the PP simply isn't going to work, especially when his net front presence is out, with seemingly nobody being able to fill that role.  
    3. Complaining about Hartman being Kaprizov's C is a legit complaint.  However, due to Rossi not stepping up yet, and, Hartsy being a placeholder in that spot leaves us having him still in that role.  To be fair, Hartsy leads us in playoff scoring at this point and does have a GWG OT goal.  
    4. I don't believe we have been reckless. The 5 shouldn't have been a 5, and the 2 Foligno minors should never have been called PPs.  We are also cheated out of 2 10s. 
    5. Dumba's hit on Pavelski was also not reckless. He hit him hard, but if you look at the replay, Dumba is squarely screened by another player before swooping in to hit him, Pavelski never saw him coming since he never really saw him in the 1st place.  
    6. The Wild had to play this series very gritty, and I don't think they've played as gritty as they needed to.  There should have been more physical punishment given out in games 2 and 5. Those 2 games had us out of reach of the score, so you don't give up, you set yourself up to have the pounding given out lead to giveaways in the future.  Losing Foligno in game 5 early probably meant less of that. Sundqvist in the lineup would have helped. To me, Reaves looked like he wanted to punish, he just couldn't catch anyone.  

    It's nice to conclude that we need to try being more skilled.  Those guys are on the way, but they're not ready yet.  I'd say what we really, really need are Kaprizov and Boldy to start hitting the inside of the twine.  Boldy hasn't scored in the post season, and Kaprizov only has 1 PP goal way back in the 1st period of game 1.  

    We have been playing gritty, and need to continue that, but, within that context, our skill guys need to score, and they haven't been.

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    21 minutes ago, mnfaninnc said:

    Game 5 was just brutal to watch. What made it worse was I was prepping for a colonoscopy when I watched it on Wednesday morning due to being blacked out.  Looks like I'll be blacked out for game 6 too.  

    1. I don't know what referees are watching, but that was not a 5 on Foligno.
    2. I disagree with the premise that penalties are killing us. While it might be splitting hairs, it's the PK that's killing us. We're going to get penalties, probably at least 3/game that we will be on the PK.  It doesn't help when some of our PK unit decides to take these penalties either.
    3. We are owed 2 10s and a 5 from the referee corps.  Anyone think we will ever collect?  
    4. What was most disappointing was not getting my pound of flesh out of the match. After going down 3-0, that was when the heavyweights needed to come out.  
    5. Anyone know why Sundqvist wasn't playing?  
    6. If we are suiting up Reaves, why isn't he doing Reaves' things? To me, he looks old and slow, I think this may be the end of the line for him.  
    7. 1st goal is so important. So, minutes into the game, referees decide once again to make bad calls and completely affect the outcome of the game.  To my count, they pretty much owe us 2 games.  
    8. Will this change? Not in the next 2 games. We will be in desperation mode, so the threat of becoming unglued is not there.  I do think we push it to 7 games and am hoping for a repeat of the Avs series, where Granny was the hero with an incredible goal! (anyone who wants to post that gif, it would be appreciated)

    I am starting to see some pretty pissed off responses.  I'm seeing fire Evason opinions, and some dissatisfaction with some players like Foligno.  Could it be that down the stretch, Evason got everything out of this team that they had?  It may very well be that with this current set of players, there is no upper gear. They overachieved again in the regular season.  This team is not that talented.  They will need to will themselves to win this series.  On paper, Dallas should win, but that's why we play the games.

    For those who were wishing to play Seattle, don't look now, but they're up 3-2 on the Avs with a home game to knock them out.  They have size on their back end, and the Avs are having trouble with that, as I suspected they would.  Seattle was a really good team with questionable goaltending.  If that changed, they were going to be a tough out! We don't really have that size.

    This last item will ruffle some feathers.  Spurgeon, our captain, has played very, very well, specifically in the regular season. However, his playoff performances have not matched up with the regular season.  Could it be time to part ways with him and try to get someone who is larger and offensively talented?  I ask because he's close to entering the age where he declines.  Defensemen decline a little later since they can usually anticipate better to make up for any physical decline.  He has an NMC. I think he'd be a better fit for Edmonton than Erik Karlsson.

    1. I agree that was not a five on Foligno, he never moved his leg to make knee contact. Faksa exposed his inner right leg. It was however a trip. After Foligno's public comments about the refs making BS calls in game 4 and calling them arrogant (both true), there was no way they weren't going to hang him out to dry for that one. He had to play his most squeaky clean game ever in that one to not get anything called (or exaggerated) in that one, and he didn't. Don't know what he expected.
    2. The penalties are killing us though because most of Dallas' Power Play goals come right off the faceoff from guys who are very lethal with time and space. We don't have anyone who can win face-offs, that is the PK's problem. Because those Dallas goals are coming so fast our defenders don't have time to get in lanes and our goalie has basically no time to react. Pretty sure those plays would score against the majority of playoff teams this year. Sure there have been some exceptions (Gustavsson not holding the puck and causing the bad rebound off Seguin's skate), but usually after we win the face-off or the initial Dallas shot we will the penalty with no problems.

    3. Absolutely not. Especially after Foligno's comments.

    4. I don't really know myself, the team gave up the will to fight after the Foligno call I think. Tough not thinking the refs are out to get you after game 4 followed by that call, not that it's an excuse by any means.

    5. No Idea, but we could really benefit from a big body to collect rebounds and screen the goalie.
    6. Agreed.

    7. Yes, but I don't think you can put that all on the refs (I do think they owe us game 4), but the players need to step up and not just give up when stuff like that happens.
    8. I think we win the next one and lose in Dallas in game 7 personally.

    I think Evanson is a really bad playoff coach because he isn't great at adapting. Fire him? I'm not sure that's the right call yet.

    Get rid of Spurgeon? Strongly disagree. I can't recall seeing a goal against this series that was his fault in particular. I think his numbers tend to look worse because the coaching staff tends to put him on he ice during empty net situations and play him more when we are already getting hammered in the hopes of a bounce back, but when we are getting hammered the whole team (at least in the playoffs) just gives up. Honestly our defensive core as current Spurgeon, Middleton, Brodin, Dumba, Faber, and Klingberg have all played pretty well this series. They have boxed out the slot very well, and have been great at clearing out rebounds.

    You know who haven't played well? Pretty much every forward not named Nyquist or Ryan Hartman. Zuccarello  had a great game, but was pretty much invisible most of the series, same with Johansson. How about Kirill and Boldy? Our Superstar players? They sure haven't done much of anything.

    You know who hasn't? Pretty much every

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    1 hour ago, mnfaninnc said:

    Game 5 was just brutal to watch. What made it worse was I was prepping for a colonoscopy when I watched it on Wednesday morning due to being blacked out.  Looks like I'll be blacked out for game 6 too.  

    1. I don't know what referees are watching, but that was not a 5 on Foligno.
    2. I disagree with the premise that penalties are killing us. While it might be splitting hairs, it's the PK that's killing us. We're going to get penalties, probably at least 3/game that we will be on the PK.  It doesn't help when some of our PK unit decides to take these penalties either.
    3. We are owed 2 10s and a 5 from the referee corps.  Anyone think we will ever collect?  
    4. What was most disappointing was not getting my pound of flesh out of the match. After going down 3-0, that was when the heavyweights needed to come out.  
    5. Anyone know why Sundqvist wasn't playing?  
    6. If we are suiting up Reaves, why isn't he doing Reaves' things? To me, he looks old and slow, I think this may be the end of the line for him.  
    7. 1st goal is so important. So, minutes into the game, referees decide once again to make bad calls and completely affect the outcome of the game.  To my count, they pretty much owe us 2 games.  
    8. Will this change? Not in the next 2 games. We will be in desperation mode, so the threat of becoming unglued is not there.  I do think we push it to 7 games and am hoping for a repeat of the Avs series, where Granny was the hero with an incredible goal! (anyone who wants to post that gif, it would be appreciated)

    I am starting to see some pretty pissed off responses.  I'm seeing fire Evason opinions, and some dissatisfaction with some players like Foligno.  Could it be that down the stretch, Evason got everything out of this team that they had?  It may very well be that with this current set of players, there is no upper gear. They overachieved again in the regular season.  This team is not that talented.  They will need to will themselves to win this series.  On paper, Dallas should win, but that's why we play the games.

    For those who were wishing to play Seattle, don't look now, but they're up 3-2 on the Avs with a home game to knock them out.  They have size on their back end, and the Avs are having trouble with that, as I suspected they would.  Seattle was a really good team with questionable goaltending.  If that changed, they were going to be a tough out! We don't really have that size.

    This last item will ruffle some feathers.  Spurgeon, our captain, has played very, very well, specifically in the regular season. However, his playoff performances have not matched up with the regular season.  Could it be time to part ways with him and try to get someone who is larger and offensively talented?  I ask because he's close to entering the age where he declines.  Defensemen decline a little later since they can usually anticipate better to make up for any physical decline.  He has an NMC. I think he'd be a better fit for Edmonton than Erik Karlsson.

    Colonoscopy prep is the perfect metaphor for game 5.

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    21 minutes ago, jgodwin17 said:

    I think Evanson is a really bad playoff coach because he isn't great at adapting. Fire him? I'm not sure that's the right call yet.

    This was my thought. Going from a Jack Adams candidate to fired for playoff shortcomings is rough.  We're not at a point where we're ready to make that deep run. I have pointed out since Evason was re-signed his 0-professional coaching playoff record, and have listed him as a starter coach, but with the influx of the kids, I think he still has value to the end of his deal.  

    23 minutes ago, jgodwin17 said:

    2. The penalties are killing us though because most of Dallas' Power Play goals come right off the faceoff from guys who are very lethal with time and space. We don't have anyone who can win face-offs, that is the PK's problem. Because those Dallas goals are coming so fast our defenders don't have time to get in lanes and our goalie has basically no time to react. Pretty sure those plays would score against the majority of playoff teams this year. Sure there have been some exceptions (Gustavsson not holding the puck and causing the bad rebound off Seguin's skate), but usually after we win the face-off or the initial Dallas shot we will the penalty with no problems.

    Draws on the PK is part of the PK. 4 times they've scored seconds into the PP off clean draws.  I agree that nobody is able to get into position, however, if it were just the draws, one would expect that this would happen at even strength too, and it's not.  

    I realize younger Cs are going to be liabilities in the faceoff circle.  However, if you know you're losing faceoffs, then you've got to have a plan to counter that. This is where Evason and the PK have issues, they don't have this contingency plan.  One would then need to ask, who is on the ice to start the PK, specifically defensively? Perhaps those 2 guys might need to be switched out? It is tough, though, when one of these guys is in the box.  

    29 minutes ago, jgodwin17 said:

    Get rid of Spurgeon? Strongly disagree. I can't recall seeing a goal against this series that was his fault in particular. I think his numbers tend to look worse because the coaching staff tends to put him on he ice during empty net situations and play him more when we are already getting hammered in the hopes of a bounce back, but when we are getting hammered the whole team (at least in the playoffs) just gives up. Honestly our defensive core as current Spurgeon, Middleton, Brodin, Dumba, Faber, and Klingberg have all played pretty well this series. They have boxed out the slot very well, and have been great at clearing out rebounds.

    This is not based upon just this series, this is based upon a track record of many series.  I think if you go back and look at Spurgeon's playoff stats and fancy stats, we will find that more than any other D-man, his stats sag.  I don't think it's the EN goals either.  It's not that he plays bad, but while he's a very good 1st pairing defender in the regular season, I'd say his stats show him as a middle 2nd pairing in the playoffs.  I haven't looked at it personally, but that is what my eye test says.  He's simply not as effective, especially offensively.  As we move forward, that contract is going to start being a large weight we have to carry, and we may have to carry it through injury.

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    8 minutes ago, Up North Guy said:

    Colonoscopy prep is the perfect metaphor for game 5.

    Preliminary results were good for me.  Maybe not so much for the team! 💩=me the night before, though.

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    Update from the Prospects-

    1. Winnipeg finished off Moose Jaw 4-2. Lambos with an apple on the insurance goal. He finished the game a +3 which likely saw a few ENers.  In 10 games, Lambos has only 4 apples, yet is a +9. 
    2. Liam Ohgren is having a nice playoffs. 15 games, 8-5-13 +11.  Hmmmm, another playoff performer! We could use that right now!

     

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    Gross! 😬 

    Kidding, bottom line is the Wild have to stay focused on what makes them successful. 
     

    Are the refs crooked, yes. They’ve been caught on hot mic talking about rigging. Totally comfortable amongst themselves discussing who they wanna penalize. One guy watches Suter chop #97 away from the puck and does nothing.  The sooner the Wild quit whining and crying about getting screwed and battle through it the better. 
     

    If the Wild played hard, disciplined hockey and lost, I could live with that. NHL & refs being corrupt, yes we know. I’ve been saying this for years. OCL is amongst the worst bribing owners in the league. I understand you can’t out-bribe Vegas but the Wild played hard enough then to nearly beat the Knights despite the refs no-call/bad calls. 
     

    No Ek is another tough one for MN. He’s an important guy for the Wild. Hopefully the Wild are practicing special teams today and having focus sessions on blocking the bad energy, harnessing the good.🤓

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    14 minutes ago, mnfaninnc said:

    This was my thought. Going from a Jack Adams candidate to fired for playoff shortcomings is rough.  We're not at a point where we're ready to make that deep run. I have pointed out since Evason was re-signed his 0-professional coaching playoff record, and have listed him as a starter coach, but with the influx of the kids, I think he still has value to the end of his deal. 

    Draws on the PK is part of the PK. 4 times they've scored seconds into the PP off clean draws.  I agree that nobody is able to get into position, however, if it were just the draws, one would expect that this would happen at even strength too, and it's not.  

    I realize younger Cs are going to be liabilities in the faceoff circle.  However, if you know you're losing faceoffs, then you've got to have a plan to counter that. This is where Evason and the PK have issues, they don't have this contingency plan.  One would then need to ask, who is on the ice to start the PK, specifically defensively? Perhaps those 2 guys might need to be switched out? It is tough, though, when one of these guys is in the box.  

    This is not based upon just this series, this is based upon a track record of many series.  I think if you go back and look at Spurgeon's playoff stats and fancy stats, we will find that more than any other D-man, his stats sag.  I don't think it's the EN goals either.  It's not that he plays bad, but while he's a very good 1st pairing defender in the regular season, I'd say his stats show him as a middle 2nd pairing in the playoffs.  I haven't looked at it personally, but that is what my eye test says.  He's simply not as effective, especially offensively.  As we move forward, that contract is going to start being a large weight we have to carry, and we may have to carry it through injury.

    Yeah, I think a lot of people are forgetting that we are a team that is still developing and rebuilding. Evanson seems to be doing a pretty good job at that.

    I think the draws are more of a liability on the PK specifically because you don't have that 5th guy, who often starts out taking out a lane to shoot from, which generally leaves only one side of the ice to shoot from. Dallas is deadly in this instance because they can shoot from both sides of the ice off the draw. By point being that yes, the PK needs to get better, but I bet Dallas scores those 4 PP goals off the draw against different teams in the same situation.

    I do agree Spurgeon generally hasn't been as good offensively in the playoffs, but I think a lot of that is because when are losing in the playoffs we tend to get hemmed in our zone a lot and Spurgeon, probably more than any other defenseman on our team, gets defensive zone starts. This is because both his ability to defend and transition the puck up the ice, but also hampers his offense a lot. Also worth noting that this season (including the playoffs) he has had very little power play time. And I hate to point it out, but we do get shut out fairly often in the playoffs. I think he does fine in the playoffs considering the team he is on. Trading him away would do a lot of damage to a good team building environment and I think would hurt the development of a lot of our younger players. And even if we did, do you think that free 7 mil would turn us into a real contender in the next few seasons (I certainly don't)? Who could you get on D that is big and skilled for that ? Colton Parayko, who has become absolutely awful the last three seasons?

    Dallas is a better team on paper, and they are probably going to win because of that. We need our forwards to show up to have much of a chance to do anything.
     

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    10 hours ago, jgodwin17 said:

    And even if we did, do you think that free 7 mil would turn us into a real contender in the next few seasons (I certainly don't)? Who could you get on D that is big and skilled for that ? Colton Parayko, who has become absolutely awful the last three seasons?

    Apparently, Parayko has been battling back injuries.  I really liked his game when he was on, but you're right, lately, he's been a problem for the Blues.  But, a guy like that, maybe a little younger is what I'd be targeting.  

    I haven't looked into who might be available, but Faber looks like the real deal for the next 2 seasons on an ELC.  To me, Spacek looks like he'll be a steal and is willing to be an all around defenseman.  But that's a couple of years away.

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    9 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

    Apparently, Parayko has been battling back injuries.  I really liked his game when he was on, but you're right, lately, he's been a problem for the Blues.  But, a guy like that, maybe a little younger is what I'd be targeting.  

    I haven't looked into who might be available, but Faber looks like the real deal for the next 2 seasons on an ELC.  To me, Spacek looks like he'll be a steal and is willing to be an all around defenseman.  But that's a couple of years away.

    Yeah, for 7 mil if you are looking for a guy nearly as talented as Spurgeon, who is bigger, and younger I don’t think you will find them. Charlie McAvoy is the only one who comes to mind, and there is no way that Boston trades him away, and even then he is pretty injury prone and usually misses about 20 games a season. 

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    I don’t believe it’s personnel as much as it is poise and disciplined buy in. 
     

    My reasoning is because the Wild have showed they can do it. They’ve also showed they can blow it. So the mental-toughness might be there sometimes and not others. They’re playing a very good team but they have to get going harder, faster, cleaner, more disciplined, smarter, all at once. Especially now behind the 8-ball.

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    16 minutes ago, Protec said:

    I don’t believe it’s personnel as much as it is poise and disciplined buy in. 
     

    My reasoning is because the Wild have showed they can do it. They’ve also showed they can blow it. So the mental-toughness might be there sometimes and not others. They’re playing a very good team but they have to get going harder, faster, cleaner, more disciplined, smarter, all at once. Especially now behind the 8-ball.

    This is pretty much exactly how I feel. The team could be really improved with some actual centers on the team, but other than that I think it has to do exactly with what you say Protec. The team needs consistency and to play a full 60 minutes every night, and between games. They need to play more disciplined, stick to their game, and stop taking as many penalties.

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    4 hours ago, jgodwin17 said:

    Yeah, for 7 mil if you are looking for a guy nearly as talented as Spurgeon, who is bigger, and younger I don’t think you will find them. Charlie McAvoy is the only one who comes to mind, and there is no way that Boston trades him away, and even then he is pretty injury prone and usually misses about 20 games a season. 

    We'll have all summer to look into this one. Now is not the time.

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    2 hours ago, jgodwin17 said:

    This is pretty much exactly how I feel. The team could be really improved with some actual centers on the team, but other than that I think it has to do exactly with what you say Protec. The team needs consistency and to play a full 60 minutes every night, and between games. They need to play more disciplined, stick to their game, and stop taking as many penalties.

    They're going to get penalties. DeBoer has already guaranteed that. The Wild have to play physical too. Referees will call a minimum of 3 penalties on the Wild, deserved or not. It's just the way they will do it.

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