Now, I'm all for the Wild improving on their drastically low goal totals from the previous years; however, this seems like overkill.
Yeo has penciled in the Wild's four forward lines to start training camp.
Yeo will load up the No. 1 line, positioning captain Mikko Koivu with newcomers Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley on his wings. Center Matt Cullen will center the second line with Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
First, Koivu is going to have to distribute to two shooters. I know it's not the NFL where wide receivers turn into prima donnas if they don't get their catches, but at some point would Heatley and Seto turn sour because they're not getting the puck enough? Probably not as likely, but there's still the outside chance that it happens. Guys who score goals want to puck, but when someone else is shooting, they can turn sour.
In addition, this would leave the 2nd line lacking a definitive shooter. Pierre-Marc, as talented as he is, isn't a shooter. We've seen how poorly Cullen will mesh with someone not willing to shoot. Granted, PMB is not Havlat, but it's still possible that the chemistry issues would resurface. Plus, there is still the enigma that is Guillaume Latendresse. Coming off his career year in Minnesota, Lats was uninspired to come out and play for that sparkly new contract. Will he actually be motivated to earn his spot, or was the 25 goals in 55 games just a fluke that occurs when a player gets traded? I'm not here to lump G-Lats with anyone, but it happens so often when a player moves, he has one great year, and then the wheels fall off. Are we, the Wilderness, watching Lats revert to the lazy player that Montreal thought they were cutting ties with?
I also see this as bad for the Wild's long-term future. I would prefer to see Heatley as the only shooter on his line in order to beef up his stats. I think it's safe to say that Dany Heatley is not in the long-term plans for the Wild, and he was brought in to be a quick-fix, band-aid player to add goals. If the Wild can pump up his stats, he could prove to be a valuable asset come draft day or deadline day. I think we would all be happy enough if Heater scores 35, helps the Wild right now, and then is dealt for more picks or prospects.
Along with Heatley, the Wild should be taking a long, hard look at PMB and his future role with the team. It seems to me that Mikael Granlund is essentially the same player, only with much more flash and pure talent. Would the Wild want to hold onto PMB and find themselves in the same hole of too many playmakers, not enough finishers? I think the pump-and-dump strategy works the same for Bouchard. Give him Setoguchi (who would be sheltered from top checking lines, freeing up his shot), allow PMB to run his point totals back up, and then see what offers roll in.
Granted, these lines are for the preseason, but that's not too far away.
What say you, readers of the Wilderness?