As the season winds down & the Wilds Season inches closer to the drain I thought we could have an open dialog about the upcoming season. Do the Wild make a trade in the offseason? What players from the farm are ready to come to the big city? Does O'Sullivan get another shot @ the NHL? What free-agents do the Wild sign/pursue? Lets make the jump & see.
Players in Houston
Casey Wellman-Does he earn a full time gig with the big team? He brings a ton of energy & speed. Prediction: If he can find the back of the net on a consistent basis I think he is our fourth center.
Colton Gillies-Does he finally get a shot back with the Wild? Has had injury problems, not a great scorer. Prediction: I think he is a career AHL'er & will only see spot service in the NHL.
Matt Hacket-With Theo likely moving on does he steal the backup spot in training camp? Prediction: I think another season in Houston & he will be ready for the big show.
Patrick O'Sullivan-Burns up the AHL against the lesser talent but fails to deliver on consistent basis in the NHL, a RFA at the end of this season. I think the Wild sign him again to a two-way contract, gives him one last chance to make an impact. Prediction: Makes the big club in camp but fizzles & is ultimately sent down to Houston.
Rau/Palmer-Need another season in the AHL before getting a shot.
Across the Pond
Mikael Granlund-Does he come in & make an impact? Is he the next winger for Mikko? Prediction: Needs a season in Houston to adjust the the North American game & smaller ice. Will see spot service with the big club.
Mikko Lehtonen-Does he come in & make an impact? Played for Providence in the Bruins system, has skill, leads the Swedish league in scoring. Wants to take another shot at the NHL. Seems to have had trouble sticking to offensive & defensive schemes. Prediction: Makes the team, adds some skill. Plays with the other Mikko scores 15-25 goals.
Dennis Endras- For the last 3 years has faced 27-30shots a game average, .905 save percentage. How does he do as a potential NHL goalie? Prediction: Leaks like the titanic, gets sent down to AHL to find his game.
Johan Larsson-Hasn't exactly set the world on fire but then again he is a young kid still. Has potential upside. Prediction: Spends season in Houston if he comes over & stays.
I don't think any of the college kids will be a factor in the coming year, Zucker will have another season at DU before going pro.
Does Fletcher pull off another great free agent signing as the college post season wears on & teams get eliminated? I think he signs 2 or even 3 more as the Wild have 4 forward spots to fill & some of these kids want a shot at an NHL career without hitting Houston first. (Play now mentality)
I believe the Wild pulls off a trade or two, either at the draft or before free agency. The team cannot continue down the path it is on right now. We are loaded with talent in Houston & like it or not we are going to have to use them or lose them. Who gets traded?
Schultz-Not going to happen. He is a bargain at what he does. He is a shutdown defenseman who is a minus 1 on a very average Wild team.
Burns-He is the stud offensive defenseman the Wild want & need. However he is just like the team, when the team is playing well he is unstoppable, when the team is playing horrible so does he. Does he get moved? I think he does. He has the largest potential return on investment of any of our defensman. He is also coming into a contract year & his agent is the same agent as Gaborik. Is that drums of doom I hear in the distance? I think he is moved before the trade deadline next year.
Zidlicky-NTC contract, he is not going anywhere.
Zanon-Has one year remaining on his deal @ roughly 2 million. He could easily be moved but what would be the return? Blocks a lot of shots but most teams really become concerned about that near the playoffs. I think he will be moved by the trade deadline next year.
Barker-Please god bury his contract in the AHL next season or trade him for something 7th round pick or anything!!
Scandella, Stoner & Spurgeon-Which guy is the odd-man out next season if nothing changes? All three deserve to be in the NHL. Spurgeon especially, he is blossoming into a very solid offensive defenseman. Sure he is a little on the small side & that could be a glaring fault in the playoffs (assuming we get there sometime soon). Stoner is doing quite well & his contract is a 2-way this year. Scandella has showed great promise.
Who does Fletcher pursue? Who does he land? Since it will be a "poor market" this year in terms of talent I will be players market for those with at least a modicum of talent.
Please debate, comment & give me your two cents
I am FightingWild, Lets go SIOUX & WILD!!
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