2018 Minnesota Wild Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Wild are in a dangerous place for a team to be - the territory that teams like the Blues, Sharks, Flyers and Blue Jackets know well from plenty of experience. They are a team that is always good enough to be a real playoff threat, and never any fun to play against, but never good enough to do any real damage against the teams that will actually win the Stanley Cup. It's not a fun place to be. Owners don't hate it because it adds playoff revenue - a few games worth, anyway - most years. But it doesn't energize fans. And it can be tough to break out of.
Stuck in the middle, teams don't get top draft picks to change things, and in some markets it can be really tough to attract top free agents for a chance to be pretty good. The Wild need to find a way to break out of this rut. San Jose looked like maybe they had done it, making the Cup finals in 2016, but hey lost in the first round the next year. And while St. Louis has never really done it, they have been aggressive this offseason to attempt to. So, can Minnesota shake things up and get back on a path to somewhere other than a trip to the final eight if everything goes just right?
Minnesota Wild Offseason Moves
If they are going to turn a new leaf it isn't going to be because of the
bold personnel moves that they have made. That's not being pessimistic -
there are few teams that stood more pat with their core than the Wild did.
They added a few pieces, and let a few more go, but when your biggest deal
is adding depth defenseman Greg Pateryn for three years and $6.75 million
total from Dallas then you haven't exactly rocked your lineup to the
foundation. And it's telling that everyone they let leave either left the
NHL for Europe or, like Eric Fehr, who they bought out, signed a one-year
deal for the veteran minimum. Among the added players is Andrew Hammond,
better known as the Hamburglar, the goalie who came from absolutely nowhere
to go 20-1-2 in a 24-game stretch for the Senators three years ago and has
done absolutely nothing since. The team could use a reliable backup to take
some weight off the shoulders of Devan Dubnyk so the goalie can go into the
playoffs fresher and sharper, so I guess it isn't impossible that Hammond
could recapture something.
The team is only starting to get impact from the 2015 and 2016 drafts, with Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin poised to make big impacts from those classes. Drafting where they typically do, they are used to being patient, and that will be required again this year. Filip Johansson, a Swedish defenseman picked 24th overall who is probably at least a couple of years away, was the only pick in the first two rounds.
The biggest accomplishments of the offseason were locking up defenseman Mathew Dumba and forward Jason Zucker. Both are signed for five more years at what should be very reasonable money if they stay on their current paths.
Minnesota Wild NHL Outlook
This is a much better team when Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are both playing, However, injuries meant that didn't happen often enough last year - Parise was hurt early, and Suter late. A lot relies on the status of those two. And given that they are not getting any younger, that's a concern. They also need guys like Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter to rediscover their form after disappointing offensive seasons from both. And they are heavily reliant on Devan Dubnyk to continue at his usual high level in the net.
The pieces are here. This has been a playoff team the last six years, and the pieces are certainly in place to make it seven. But the West is absolutely brutal this year, with all eight playoff teams from last year poised to repeat and at least four other teams in very good shape to get in as well. Good teams are going to miss out in what has become an arms race, and it is hard to get too excited about a team that basically let it ride while others loaded up. The margin of error is very small for this team this year.
Minnesota Wild Schedule
Starting Oct. 29, the team goes on a seven-game road trip, with all games against Western foes. It is going to be a defining stretch for the team. If they survive that then they play six of the next seven at home, and four of those six are against bad teams. If they can come out of the road trip strong then this could be a chance to really bank some points. But things could also go wrong in a hurry.
Minnesota Wild NHL Futures Odds
The Wild are at +3500 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada . That puts them behind 17 other teams and tied with Chicago. That's not very flattering. After 101 points last year, the season win total is set at 95.5 this year. It took 95 points to make the playoffs last year.
2017-18 Minnesota Wild Predictions
When everyone around you is reaching for the stars, it's tough to admire just treading water too much. They have strong coaching in Bruce Boudreau, and the core is good if not always young. But are they better than Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, or St. Louis - four teams that missed the playoffs last year and want back in? Maybe. But not certainly. This team fits anywhere in the fifth to 12th range in the West, and that makes them very tough to bet on with any confidence as the prices sit now.
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