Wild's Lackluster Start Leaves Fans With An Anxious Trigger Finger

Hannah Foslien

A 3-3-3 start has message boards and blogs erupting with possible solutions to the Wild's troubles and none of them actually being realistic. From complaining about the entire roster, complaining about Chuck Fletcher, and trading Mikko Koivu, everyone has an opinion. For those that actually pay attention, I rant for you.

"We blow it up from top to bottom. Keep Parise, Poms, Granlund, Coyle, Nino, Brodin and Suter then trade off everyone. Bring in guys that aren't two way players. Start drafting guys known more for offense than two way skills."

I have heard this sentiment all over the Wild blogosphere. Wild fans everywhere have gone off the deep end. Only nine games in and we are already being bombarded with craziness. Let's take a look at some of the few things that was said with a more rational point of view, shall we?

According to our friend from above, apparently the Wild should start drafting guys known more for their offensive prowess rather than guys that are known for being a two-way, complete type of player. Everyone knows that a great offense can win games, but a solid defense wins championships. Hockey is different from football - there aren't offensive or defensive specialists that can play only one thing. It is up to the players on the ice at that time to do both. A great two-way player does a great job of limiting chances for the other team and turning defense in to offense quickly. Just take look at the Edmonton Oilers. They owned the number one pick for three years in a row and drafted the most prolific scorer in each of the drafts. Where are they now? Oh yeah, the Oilers are 2-6-1 and in DEAD LAST of the Pacific Division. Edmonton has given up an average of four goals per game and is a -3.10 shot percentage for to shooting percentage against. So unless you want your Minnesota Wild to be the Oilers, they need to continue drafting complete NHL prospects.

Fletcher isn't great at trades, and his drafting record is great because of Flahr. Don't get me wrong, I think Fletcher is a pretty damn good GM but his record with trades is just horrendous. The Burns trade has turned out to be Burns for Coyle.

This guy here contradicts everything he said in two sentences. "Fletcher isn't great at trades...I think Fletcher is a pretty damn good GM." Later in his post he claims that the Brent Burns trade just turned out being for Charlie Coyle. This, if you haven't been paying attention, is completely wrong. Yes, Charlie Coyle was the key cog in the deal. If you remember that draft day trade brought in Devin Setoguchi, Charlie Coyle, and the 28th overall pick which ended up being Zack Phillips. Yes, Setoguchi was traded this offseason to the Winnipeg Jets. What about the two seasons he was here? Why is that somehow forgotten? It's not like the Wild didn't get good use out of Setoguchi. Also, Charlie Coyle was the starting second line center for your Minnesota Wild until a knee sprain sidelined him. Zack Phillips is also doing exactly what he needs to be doing - learning to play the pro game in Iowa. That's not a bad trade no matter which way you try to spin it.

Zucker + for a D-man is a move I'd make even if we were undefeated right now.

So suddenly people want to give up on Jason Zucker? The Wild were admonished for sending down Zucker in favor of Mikael Granlund. After Zucker had a nondescript game when he was called up for an injured Charlie Coyle, suddenly he becomes the biggest trade asset the Wild have? Why not give the kid time to develop? Why not let the players play things out? Zucker still shows a super amount of potential and promise for this Minnesota Wild club and I, for one, am not ready to give up on this kid.

I'd love to see Koivu get traded and turn it over to Coyle and Granlund. The team has done nothing with Koivu at the helm and he seems to be the embodiment of the over-passing, under-shooting mentality of the team. I'm just bored with him.

Finally, we get to the biggest, most offered up trade bait from Wild fans. Koivu is currently in the middle of his 7-year $47.25 million contract. He was drafted 6th overall by the Wild in the 2001 draft. Koivu has played 545 career games and posted 404 points in his career for .741 points per game. There are Wild fans out there that would offer Mikko up for a bag of pucks if they could. I guess I don't see where the vile and disenfranchisement with Koivu comes from. I won't say that he is your prototypical number one center, but he isn't the reason this team is having issues. The Wild have four captains on this team and the one guy they all rally around is Mikko. When he speaks in the locker room, everyone listens. As for his production, Koivu has 6 points (1G-5A) in 9 games this season. In the last six years, Koivu has eclipsed 60 points in a season three times. He missed 60 points in 2011-12 because a shoulder injury limited him to just 55 games. Last season, Koivu finished with 37 points in 48 games which means he was actually on pace to hit 60 points again. For the last six seasons, Koivu has been everything to the Wild. The way Koivu goes is usually the way the Wild go. Trading him would be giving up on the season and leave a large hole that takes a once-in-a-decade draft pick to find a replacement.

Wild fans need to settle down. Minnesota is supposed to be the State of Hockey - a well informed, educated, and passionate fanbase that knows the game inside and out because fans have grown up with the game in their very own backyard. Literally, fans grew up with hockey rinks in their backyard. So, why do Wild fans have this crazy, irrational, maniacal, and frenzied attitude that rivals the fanbases of the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers? (We don't want to be like THOSE teams).

The Wild is heading into its tenth game of the season Tuesday night against Nashville. Pekka Rinne is a very good goalie and Barry Trotz's Predators pride themselves on locking down opponents. It will be another extremely tough game for the Wild to score. If the score ends up 3-2, 2-1, it should not come as a surprise. What is important is that the Wild end up on the winning side of this one as it is a divisional match-up. The Wild need to continue doing the things they have been doing - possessing the puck, out shooting opponents, and limiting opponent's opportunities - just with better finishing at the net. We will see if the Wild enjoy the friendly confines of the Xcel Energy Center and can break out of their scoring drought.

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