When you buy and sell stock, it is good to take a long term view point. Fluctuations in the market can cause acid reflux, and no one wants to deal with that. When it comes to your favorite hockey team, it can be difficult to stay unemotional, and to not want to celebrate victories like a playoff series win, or to mourn losses like the death of a pet.
With the best overall results they have had during a single week in quite awhile, it is difficult to judge things on the Wild as lacking. However, there are things that are lacking, mostly as a team. Make the jump and see who is up, and who you may want to start to back away from.
Nick Schultz (MO) - Defensive defensemen get little love in the press, but fans in Minnesota know their value. Schultz is one of the top, if not the top, shut down defensemen on the team. Sure, Greg Zanon is a beast, and is a force to be reckoned with, but Schultz is always the go-to guy. Need to stop Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, which pairing you going to send out there? Pretty sure it's Schultz and his d-partner one Mr. Brent Burns. He has also made Brett Favre look like a sissy this week, which is a clear win for any hockey fan.
Cal Clutterbuck (CBUK) - Clutterbuck is second on the team with four goals, leads the NHL (yet again) in hits, has laid some beautiful checks in the past week, and you can't come close to criticizing the 'stache. He has played every role the team has asked him to, from fourth line checker to now top line scoring winger, and has never forgotten what got him where he is. Hard work (Sorry Tom), and being a human bowling ball will keep Cal in the league, and in the front of the line for fan investment for quite awhile.
Casey Wellman (ROOK) - Wellman is in an interesting place. He is a rookie, but with his age, people have some high expectations for him. He still has some work to do, but his speed and his work ethic are certainly worth the wait. Great plays are happening for him, he just needs some confidence in himself, and to take some risks. Now is the time to buy, because the value here is high.
Mikko Koivu (KAPT) - When a stock is high, and the performance slips a bit, there is no need to panic. However, it also is not the time to continue to purchase that stock. Right now is not a good stretch for Koivu. He certainly is competing, but he is losing key face-offs, and multiple analysts (fans) have mentioned how he looks like a shell of himself. Is Koivu a silly kitten who lost his Mittens? Maybe, but I wouldn't put it all on that, nor would I lose faith in his abilities. Everyone has slumps.
Niklas Backstrom (BAX) - Never jump off a moving train. Sound advice for anyone at anytime. There was much doubt surrounding Backstrom coming into this season, and we had our doubts about their doubts. Six wins, a shutout, 1.80 GAA, 319 saves, and a .941 save %... if you are playing fantasy hockey, you're too late. If you are a Wild fan that has doubts, you best get on board.
Rating: Strong Buy
Brent Burns (IJ) - If you didn't buy early on this guy, I questions your sanity. In the midst of a career year, Burns had two goals against the Jackets, and has played the best defense a d-man can be expected to play. It would be ridiculous to even try and criticize his game, and we won't even try. If you didn't buy, you can risk that there is still upside here, but he is hitting on all cylinders, so it may take awhile to find any more room to go up. That said...
Rating: Strong Buy
Todd Richards (SUIT) - It has been an interesting run here in Minnesota. Fans have called for the heads of Tim Brewster (fired), Brad Childress (life-support), and Todd Richards. A 3-1-1 home stand against five very good hockey teams, followed by a win on the road? That has to buy Richards some time, right? RIGHT? I'm glad to see we all agree on this. I still don't think the team is playing his system, but they are winning, and winning trumps everything. At some point, either he needs to be fired, or fans need to let it go. With what I have seen, the letting go is the best option.
Minnesota Wild (W) - Though thirteen games last season, the Wild were 4-9-0, with only one victory in regulation. This season they are 7-4-2, with all seven of their victories coming without over time. In the business, we call that "improvement." I am still not sold that the defensive play can carry this team through the season, and they are not playing the system. If they cannot find some offense soon, they will start to lose some of these close games. Health has been an issue, but it cannot be an excuse. They need to figure something out to score some goals, and give the goalies some support.
What you do with your fan investment is up to you. The Wild are still a high risk / high reward type stock. If you are faint of heart, you may want to jump ship, as nothing this season looks like it will come easy.