Panicky Wild Look for Answers
Going by their record, the Minnesota Wild don't appear to be a terrible team. They're above .500 and have accrued enough points to be in the thick of the NHL's Western Conference playoff hunt. But after losing 10 of their last 11 games, the Wild have created panic in the northern air, and their season has evolved into one of survival.
At the beginning of the season, there were high hopes in Minnesota. With players such as Zach Parise and Ryan Suter patrolling both ends of the ice, the playoffs seemed well within reach. But now they are near the bottom of the NHL in most scoring categories. Parise leads the team in goals, but he only has 17. Mikko Koivu leads the team in points, but he only has 10 goals. And the defensive play has been OK, but only because Devan Dubnyk (2.37 goals against average) and Darcy Kuemper (2.06), are holding their own in goal.
'Have to Figure it Out'
Although the season isn't lost altogether, they've slumped to sixth in the Central Division, with the toughest of contenders above them. "We're a very fragile team," Suter said last week. "They get one and we kind of go into a shell, and that's a team that has no confidence. We have to figure it out fast, or it's not going to work."
All of this adds up to trade talk, and while general manager Chuck Fletcher is noted for his patience, he's recently said he's been working on an impact deal. Tampa Bay winger Jonathan Drouin and Nashville center Ryan Johansen have been mentioned as players Fletcher might be interested in. And since the Montreal Canadiens are in similar shape, a swap for Alex Galchenyuk might provide the shakeup both teams need.
Use Caution in Betting
Fact is, the Wild simply need to score goals, and Fletcher's patience may be running thin, with the trade deadline just three weeks away. Given all of that, picking the Wild in any playoff futures would be money down the drain, and betting them in games requires the utmost caution. They may right the ship, but don't look for a complete turnaround until they "figure it out."
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