Ever since the Wild aquired Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, and Yeo announced he'd pair the latter with Jared Spurgeon, I can't help but find myself contemplating what the Wild blue line will be looking like next season. Here's what I think happens.We already know Suter and Spurgeon are the tentative top pairing. What about the bottom four, though? I think we'll see a second pairing of Marco Scandella and Tom Gilbert to compliment our second line of Setoguchi-Granlund-Bouchard. That being said, the perfect three defensemen to complete the blue line on the bottom pairing would be a mix of Clayton Stoner, Justin Falk and Nate Prosser.
Falk and Prosser were paired together by Yeo in Houston and have showed good chemistry together. All three are gritty defensemen but, while Stoner and Prosser tend to be more stay-at-home conservative defenders, Falk will find himself skating up the ice on occasion to help with the rush. As such, I believe Yeo will alternate between Prosser and Stoner to compliment Falk. Not because Falk is better than the other two, but his style of play is just slightly different to Prosser and Stoner. However, all three are vital to the success of the team and can play a punishingly physical style of game. That's why I believe these three are the perfect match to play behind our gritty bottom six guys like Powe, Brodziak, Clutterbuck, Mitchell, Konopka, Kassian and Veilleux.
Where does that leave the other young defenders in the system? Personally, I would really like to see Steven Kampfer and Tyler Cuma get top minutes as the first pairing in Houston. Brian Connelly would also be a great guy to mentor these younger players, too. Throw in Chay Genoway with those three and you have a very solid core in Houston to build around, though that isn't really the point of going to the minors.
What about Jonas Brodin and Mathew Dumba? With the arrival of Suter, I feel that we can definitely afford to give the kids time to develop and hone their game. I personally think another year in Sweden for Brodin and a few more years in the WHL for Dumba would do them a world of good. Let them grow a bit, bulk up and dominate and then, when the Wild brass feel they're ready for the NHL, let them prove they can stick in the best league in the world. No matter what, the future looks bright for the Minnesota Wild.