After a bit of a delay, here I throw my hat in on this bizzle. Question #4 was as follows:
Is the Wild deep enough at center?
At first glance, my thought is no. At second glance, my thought is still no. But, reading training camp info my final answer is...Not Quite.
The idea of Koivu centering the front line, with Bruno and Gabby is appealing. Koivu can make the play, or shoot himself, Gabby can shoot all day, and Bruno isn't afraid to pick up the trash. Is Koivu a #1 Centreman yet? No. But will he be by year's end...more than likely. But I will be the first to say that had he not been injured last year for so many games...he would be a #1 center on opening day.
After that, we go to speculation-ville, and the Belanger Syndrome. Rumour has it that Sheppard is prepared to have a breakout season. Cap'n Russo at the USS Strib speaks very highly of what he has seen. As a lowly fan, without season tickets, I have to take that word, as I have seen no pre-season puck on tv. I could live with Sheppard as our #2 line centreman, but, in all honesty, he would be better suited as a checking-line centreman until mid-season.
Benoit...we hardly knew ye! Seriously, I don't know which Pouliot will be showing up this year. Is it the under-acheiver, or the hard-worker? The slick skater, or the turnover machine? I will be watching him closely, and I would be very unhappy to see him anywhere but line #4 or as the floating 5th centre.
And lets not forget our dear buddy-boy Eric Belanger. Man he came out of the box hot last year with the BBR ine, but that quickly cooled. He has decent hands, and he skates well, but again, he is (and was last year with BBR) a 3rd line centreman who can pretend to play more of an offensive position.
To Summarize, the Wild REALLY would have used a Olli Jokinen or a Bobby Holik type presence. Mikko is, currently, a 1.5 line centreman and we are looking at (3) 3rd/4th line centers. Curious to see what, if anything can be done early in the season, if they are feeling that this is, in fact, a playoff contention year. The Wild could use a bonified 1st or 2nd line centreman...to compliment Koivu, and as a result, making all four lines stronger. But, as it stands, this is what we look at...and I return to my original answer...the WIld are not quite deep enough at center.