Is This the Worst Minnesota Wild Team Ever?

Two days ago, we looked at a conundrum of faith. Not a crisis, but a conundrum. Should Wild fans be angry enough to fire people, or should they be more vocal? These questions were presented by Patrick Reusse, a man fans love to hate. The problem with columnists is they fire people up. The best thing about columnists... is they fire people up.

Last night, after another completely unsurprising loss, Reusse asked a very straight forward question: Is this the worst Wild team ever? Immediately the scoffing began. No, this is not the worst Wild team ever, right? Right? This team has some very good players... Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Niklas Backstrom... that other guy... and... the guy over there...

So let's ask the question. Is this the worst Wild team of all time?

The points say no. Well, to be clear, they say no right now. The 2011-12 Minnesota Wild are on pace for 82 points. If that number looks familiar, that was the betting line at the beginning of the season. Over under was set at 82 points. They are on pace to make that an interesting bet, to be sure. The fact the Wild have won just 8 games in the last 36 makes you wonder if the point-per-game pace is the reality.

The problem with hockey, is a loss isn't always a loss. So we go to points. The Wild have won 21 points in the past 36 games, due to some charity points awarded. Twenty one points in 36 games in 29% of points available, but it is a pace of .58 points per game. (How about those numbers, eh Wilderness?)

Earning .58 points through the remaining games gives them a little better than 9 points. We'll keep the numbers real and and say nine. That puts them at... 75 points.

The historical record shows this as the Wild's finishing point totals:

2000-01

68

2001-02

73

2002-03

95

2003-04

83

2004-05

2005-06

84

2006-07

104

2007-08

98

2008-09

89

2009-10

84

2010-11

86

2011-12

66...

Using those simple counting techniques I learned way back when, whether it is 82 or 75 points, the 2011-12 will finish as the 3rd worst Wild team in franchise history by point totals.

So, will they be the worst Wild team in history? No. Or... will they?

The 2000-01 Wild teams looked like this:

Forwards

Brian Bonin
Christian Matte
Pascal Dupuis
Kai Nurminen
Matt Johnson
Pavel Patera
Sylvain Blouin
Peter Bartos
Jeff Nielsen
Maxim Sushinsky
Cameron Stewart
Roman Simicek
Sergei Krivokrasov
Aaron Gavey
Stacy Roest
Antti Laaksonen
Jim Dowd
Darby Hendrickson
Wes Walz
Marian Gaborik

Defense

Filip Kuba
Lubomir Sekeras
Brad Bombardir
Willie Mitchell
Andy Sutton
Ladislav Benysek
Jean-Jacques Daigneault
Travis Roche
Mike Matteucci
Chris Armstrong

Goalie

Manny Fernandez
Jamie McLennan
Derek Gustafson
Zac Bierk
David Brumby

The 2001-02 Wild looked like this:

Forwards

Andrew Brunette
Marian Gaborik
Jim Dowd
Sergei Zholtok
Antti Laaksonen
Wes Walz
Pascal Dupuis
Richard Park
Hnat Domenichelli
Darby Hendrickson
Stacy Roest
Aaron Gavey
Tony Virta
Matt Johnson
Roman Simicek
Sylvain Blouin

Defense

Filip Kuba
Lubomir Sekeras
Willie Mitchell
Jason Marshall
Nick Schultz
Ladislav Benysek
Brad Brown
Brad Bombardir
Mike Matteucci
David Cullen
Travis Roche

Goalies

Dwayne Roloson
Manny Fernandez
Derek Gustafson

Not exactly jaw dropping rosters. Nor should they be. These were the rosters for the first two years after the Wild came into existence. Expansion era rosters. In other words, the only two Wild teams that have finished worse than the current team is tracking to finish... were on teams that were expansion teams. The bottom feeders of the league, with no star power, no hope, no reason to feel they would be anything but a side show.

The 2011-12 version of the Wild have high paid, high power players with limited expectations, and yet, somehow when you look at the teams they are about barely beat, you have to wonder if the expectations shouldn't have been just a bit higher than that.

Four of the previous season are certainly within reach. The seasons of 83 and 84 points aren't out of the question. The Wild would need to increase from their .58 points per game to a 1.175 points per game to beat the 84 point mark. That would be doubling (and then some) the production of the past 36 games. That would be nine wins and a OT loss, or 19 points. Nine wins in the last 16, when they have won 8 of their past 36?

Anyone putting money on that?

So, Wilderness, speculation time. Given the current path, is this the worst Wild team of all time, all things considered? If not, which teams were worse and why? Does it matter?

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