Minnesota Wild preview

Overview: The Wild has been a team that has struggled for the past few seasons, and the fans aren’t happy.

That was shown during the preseason, when a game wasn’t a sellout for the first time in 10 years.

Of course, it’s only the preseason, but it’s a sign to management that things to get better.

And it should be. The Wild have a lot of good young players, the best backup goalie in the NHL and just enough experience t teach the young guys how to act.

It’ll all add up to a playoff spot for this season.

Best offseason move: Signing Jose Theodore. Theodore is a cheap backup ($1.1 million), but more importantly, he’s a top goalie. If Niklas Backstrom falters like he did last season, the Wild now have a goalie that can steal games. I can see Theodore getting about 35 starts, at least.

Worst offseason move: Paying Mikko Koivu as much as they did. Look, I like Koivu. He’s talented, strong defensively, and is undoubtably the leader of the Wild. But there’s no way he should be making $7 million a season. That’s way too much for a guy who doesn’t get a point per game, nor score more than once every four and a half games.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Pierre-Marc Bouchard for the Masterton

Pool pick: Guillaume Latendresse. Last year, Lats had 37 points in 55 games, which is good for 55 points over the course of 82 games. I think he’ll pass that this season, and finish with about 60 points. Who to stay away from: Martin Havlat. Injury woes aside, Havlat doesn’t fit in well with the Wild. He had only 54 points last season, so you would think he was injured for part of it. But no, he played in 73 games. Havlat hasn’t had a season-ending injury for the past two seasons, so he’s about due.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name all the players that have played at least one game for the Wild?

Best hall of fame choice: It should be Mikko Koivu for the money he makes. It could have been Martin Havlat if he had been able to stay healthy most of his career. But instead, the Wild is one of those teams where they don’t have anyone who could make the hall of fame.

Blog to follow: Hockey Wilderness

My Prediction: Second in the Northwest, eighth in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Rachel Leigh Cook


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