The mid-point of the season was this week, and your Hockey Wilderness writing staff sat down and gave grades to each player on the team. We graded forwards and defensemen who had suited up for at least 10 games this season, and goalies who had played 4 or more games. Be prepared to dig in, there's lots of stuff in here!
Jesse also had a message he wanted us to pass along-
I would give grades, but my view is that every single player earns an "F" for failing to show any remorse and not coming up with any type of action plan to avoid a 4th lockout in a row.
The apparent lack of concern for the fans (the people shelling out their hard-earned money so that these arrogant assbags can make a living playing a game) has me 100% jaded towards the NHL as a whole.
So I fail every single player, I will continue to ignore the NHL as a whole, and I will understand if you choose not to use my response as my view is overly biased, as I have contributed nothing based on my distaste for the NHL. I just felt it fair to finally include everyone into why I have been absent in this lockout shortened season.
Now, onto the grades. They are sorted by position played, and ordered by number. No biases here! :)
Bryan- C Cullen has become a solid third line / second line swing player. He is playing minutes in all situations, but just is not nearly as impressive as he used to be. Remember when this guy was supped to be the answer?
Emilie- B; Cullen started off the year pretty slow, but has really shown himself to be an important part of this team. He's putting up points, playing a key role in lots of play, and showing he's worthy of the holding the title of 2nd center for the time being.
Dan Chan- B. Many people don't like him because of his contract and his age, making him an easy target and a hot topic for trade talk. But over the last few games, he's been speedy, effective, and I think he has one of the better hands of this team, just not much finishing ability.
Agnes- B+ he's showing up every night and playing like he means it. Leadership personified on the ice.
Dan Czarnecki - B; Another fairly decent player at this point of the season. Even though he hasn't scored too many goals himself, he sure knows how to assist us in scoring goals.
Tony- When you're evaluating Cullen, the biggest question is whether or not you're going to ignore the fact that he's not worth 3.5 million. For the purposes of this grade, I will, as it doesn't have any bearing out on the ice. Cullen's been the glue that's held the second line together (despite the fact you'd ideally like a better second-line center)- which is the Wild's only big speed threat. Then throw in the hidden value he provides in the face-off circle and the shootout, and you've got a player who I think I've been underrating. B-
Bryan- A- The "face" of the franchise no more, Koivu has continued to play at a high level with even less recognition than before. He leads the team in points, is playing big PK minutes, and is still the same old Koivu everyone expects. The Wild brought in some of the best in the world, and Koivu stepped his game up to match.
Emilie- A; His point production hasn't been as great as fans would like, but he just never quits. He lays everything out on the ice and this team would be in a black hole if he wasn't around (ala last season).
Dan Chan- A. O Captain, my captain. Consistent and reliable. Puts up the points, plays in all situations, shows some fiery passion when dealing with pesky opponents. I really can't ask for anything more
Agnes- B he's doing well but lets his temper get the better of him at times
Dan Czarnecki - B-; Even though he's only scored 4 goals so far this season, he's really been racking up some assists. 16 to be exact.
Tony- Koivu has been Koivu, which he has always been. You know what you're getting- good playmaking, great defense, and hard work (Sorry, Tom) in all situations. And that's really wonderful. It is. He leads the Wild in scoring with a respectable 22 points in 26 games, but it would be nice to see him elevate his scoring output above what he had when his linemates were Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen. Maybe it'll happen with chemistry, but it hasn't happened yet. B
Bryan- D Unimpressive numbers that are slowly coming back around, but the key has been the absolute disappearing act he did for the first half of the first half of the season. Completely gone. He has gotten better, which is how he avoids the F.
Emilie- C+; He's finally coming around and making a large imprint on the teams identity. After a very quiet beginning of the season, including trade rumors, Seto has solidified his spot on the team.
Dan Chan- B. Started the season slow but showed an obvious addition of grit to his game. However, over the past few games, he's been clicking with his linemates so he's been gritty AND producing. Still, he's still ways away from being a 30 goal scorer, but he's doing solid
Agnes- B he's scoring goals when we need them
Dan Czarnecki - B; His pace has been picking up recently. He got his 6th goal of the season last night against theDucks.
Tony- A brutally slow start has given way to a 16 game stretch where he is (finally) showing the kind of production that Wild fans have been waiting to see. Until he shows he can sustain his recent success, though, I can't quite quell the suspicion that he's still the same player as last year. Streaky, tantalizing, and ultimately frustrating. Let's hope we see more of the good Seto in the second half, because that guy is needed. C+
Bryan- A- He has been superb, but not perfect. His work ethic is off the charts, and he clearly makes this a better team. He is close to getting the A, but just not quite there.
Emilie- A; Everything Wild fans wished for and more. Solid workhorse, watching him battle for pucks and stuff goals in the net never gets old
Dan Chan- A. We paid him to be a top Wild forward and he's met all expectations. He doesn't get the extra ‘plus' just because he isn't exceeding expectations, but to be fair, its hard to do when you expect a top player.
Agnes- B hasn't quite lived up to the hype for me, but maybe this is Who he is on a team that doesn't perennially make the playoffs
Dan Czarnecki - A; He's really been doing well lately. His performance is really showing as he is the leading goal-scorer for the Wild.
Tony- Parise has mostly been as advertised. A goal-scorer who puts the puck on net, and forechecks the opposition relentlessly. It's a welcome tonic. My only issue with him is that after carrying the Wild the first five games with 9 points in five games, he only scored 3 over the next 12. Especially in a 48 game season, a stretch like that has to mean something. B+
Bryan- B- Heater has done everything asked of him this season. At one point, he was leading the team in points, and was second in points until he was moved down in the lineup to spur other players. His numbers have suffered due to losing the elite linemates, but let's not kid ourselves. Heatley can still play. He isn't worth the cap hit anymore, but he is far from done.
Emilie- C+; Oh Heater. Still a great playmaker, but even his biggest fans can't argue that his age/injuries are starting to catch up with him. He just doesn't have the same hustle. He brings firepower to the third line though, which is definitely needed. However, he's a -11, which is the worst +/- on the team.
Dan Chan- C+. The slowest player on the team, but just seems to produce points. He has a great release, but honestly, I think he slows whichever line he is featured on. He's fine in short moments and as a trigger man, but watching him for three periods makes me tired.
Agnes- B. performing right where I expected him to. He's doing we'll on the second line. He's lacking in speed but making up for it with dirty goals.
Dan Czarnecki- Heatley: B; Another excellent performer for the Wild up to this point of the season. He is currently the Wild's second best scorer with a total of 8 goals. Despite this, he has been starting to slow down a little bit.
Tony- The Good? He's got the second most amount of goals on the Wild. The Bad? When he's not doing that, he's not very useful. It's completely astounding how far Heatley has fallen at the age of 32. How much better would the Wild be if Heatley was even the guy he was in his last year in San Jose? C-
Bryan- B He has taken the step that Coyle has not. Zucker's speed is deadly, his shot right on the money. More minutes, especially on the power play, and this kid would shine like a lighthouse.
Emilie- A-; Zucker has surpassed everyone's expectations. I may have lost the voting in the debate on what line he would end up being on, but I certainly won the argument. His speed is insane, his attitude towards getting better is tough to top.
Dan Chan- A. Seriously, if it wasn't for Zucker and his feisty and energetic play, Cullen and Setoguchi may never have found their game. The second line has been great because of its speedy and tenacity, and Zucker brought that in his first game. He was the catalyst that really sparked the team.
Agnes- B. doing very well, lots of speed and potential
Dan Czarnecki- A; He sure knows how to handle the puck, as well as shooting to score.
Tony- Zucker has done well in the role that's been given to him. He doesn't play the tough minutes, but when he's on the ice, he makes something happen. He probably gets a lower score if he's 25, but at 20, he's doing all you can ask him to do. B-
Bryan- C Mostly invisible, which is good for a third liner, but not for a third liner with the speed Mitchell has. Make an impact, forecheck and get the puck, score a couple goals. As a 3rd liner, that's how you get an A.
Emilie- B-; For a 3rd/4th line guy, Mitchell has been excellent.He doesn't have the speed of Zucker, but he has the speed on the bottom 6. Always working, and should be putting up a few more goals this year if he keeps it up.
Dan Chan- C. There really isn't much to say about Mitchell. Fast and solid. Can't say I am disappointed but also in no way impressed.
Agnes- C I just haven't seen much to impress me
Dan Czarnecki- B+; Even though he's only scored one goal, he sure can play well for us. I would rate him a bit higher if he scored more. His control and presence in the offensive zone has been excellent.
Tony- He's playing a lesser role than he did in San Jose, but as far as I can tell, he's doing a good job at providing speed, grit and energy. Nothing flashy, but I'll take it. C
Bryan- C This one might get me some heat, but Brodzaik has been lackluster this season. He is doing his job, and doing it fairly well, but nothing to get you out of your seat and scream "Yes! Give that guy an A!" He is just kind of... there. Defensively sound, zero offense.
Emilie- C-; I'll probably get a lot of flack for this, but Brodzy hasn't impressed me much. I find myself noticing other guys on the ice instead of him. He hasn't been horrible, but not great either.
Dan Chan- C-. Brodziak's a solid player and a key defensive center, but he isn't near his offensive form that we saw the past two seasons. Maybe it is because we have more depth at forward, but either way, I am not sure we are going to see another 20-goal season from him in awhile.
Agnes- B- Brodziak is doing his job - holding lines together.
Dan Czarnecki- C; He's been doing alright up to this point of the season. Not bad, but just average.
Tony- It's hard to evaluate Brodziak. His game isn't about numbers, but his five points are pretty underwhelming even for a third-line center. However, it still should be noted that he still plays some of the toughest minutes on the team, and Yeo still has trust in him. Good enough for me, but I'd like him to step it up. C
Bryan- C- This is a case of a player seeming to not love the game as much, minutes coming down, and maybe a shift in mindset by opponents. The intimidation factor seems to be missing, he isn't throwing nearly as many hits, and the passion for the game looks to be drying up. He is still good, and still very good on the PK, but the team needs something more.
Emilie- C+; Something is missing from Cal this season. He's not hitting as much, he's not scoring as much, and he's just not making an impact like he has in past years. He's started to show flashes of the old Cal since his return from injury. Hopefully it continues
Dan Chan- C+. Look, he's a good chirper and a good agitator, but most of us fell in love with him because of the way he would destroy people. Yeah, he still finishes his checks and leads the team in hits, but he isn't nearly as destructive on the forecheck as he once was.
Agnes- C The C isn't really his fault. He was getting into his groove and then Taylor Hall knocked him out of it. He'll improve.
Dan Czarnecki- B; He's been a decent performer for our team thus far, but it just hasn't been showing in the goal-scoring department.
Tony- A bit underwhelming on the score sheet, but he's still physical, still playing hard minutes, and still shooting at about the same rate as he has for his career. The goals will start coming in soon. C
Bryan- B- Rupp seems to be doing his job, and he is a reason this team has turned its defensive play around. He is a much better hockey player than Konopka, and doesn't take the instigator penalty just to fight. Rupp is the player the Wild were looking for when they signed Konopka.
Emilie- B-; I will eat my crow on this one. I wasn't a fan of the trade with the Rangers because Rupp had been playing horribly for the Rangers at the beginning of the season. He has the same grit and fighting abilities as Konopka, but doesn't take the dumb penalties and can actually play the game.
Dan Chan- B. I was a fan of Powe and was a little upset that we traded him for a slow-footed big man, but Rupp really works on our fourth line. Sure, he isn't fast but he's effective, knows how to tie the puck up along the boards, and really gives the team an physical edge.
Agnes- C He hasn't done much impressive since he got here. I hope he isn't another Petr Sykora.
Dan Czarnecki- B+; Even though Rupp has only scored 1 goal so far up to this point of the season, he sure is looking strong right now. Like Mitchell, he really has some great presence in the offensive zone.
Tony- I don't know if it's the case that Rupp is shiny and new, but I've been pretty happy with him. His size is exactly what the Wild have needed to solidify the fourth line. C+
Bryan- F Wholly unimpressed with his game. He is winning 61% of his faceoffs, which is an impressive number, until you notice he has taken less than a third of the face off that Koivu has, and almost a third less than Brodziak has. He takes bad penalties in key situations, is not intimidating in the slightest, and is all around just... meh.
Emilie- D; He wins faceoffs. He fights at weird times, and doesn't really impact play at all. Although I love watching him chirp people, they usually change their course of direction to get away from him as soon as possible.
Dan Chan- C. I am not really sure what I expected from Konopka. A good faceoff man but purely a 4th line enforcer. I got what I expected, and that isn't much.
Agnes- C. He gets a C because he makes me laugh
Dan Czarnecki- C; He hasn't really been out on the ice too much, but when he is out on the ice, his performance is average at best
Tony- He's still physical, he still fights, and he still wins face-offs. He'll take a dumb penalty every now and then, and isn't the guy you want in every game, but he has found his way into a role, and that's ultimately about what we expected. C
Bryan- C+ Coyle is right there... right on the cusp of greatness. He needs to find the X factor that has cost so many before him their careers. He is big, he is physical, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be a great player. He just hasn't made that step, yet
Emilie- B; Coyle really focused himself after he got sent back to Houston. He's second trip up proved that he deserved being the key piece in the trade that brought him and Seto to MN. He made Shea Weber look like a fool, and is finally showing the confidence that he needs to be on the top line. Once he learns to use his body to his advantage a bit more, and play with confidence all the time instead of deferring to the veterans he'll get an A.
Dan Chan- B.Coyle is all skill and tools, but has yet to figure out how to translate them into points. He makes the strong plays, he plays hard, he just seems to have a hard time finishing. But for a 21-year old rookie, that isn't a bad thing.
Agnes- B+. He's doing well in the big leagues but defers to the Vets when he doesn't need to.
Dan Czarnecki- B; For being one of our players we've recalled from Houston, he's been decent for us thus far.
Tony- Coyle is doing a great job of finding his way in the NHL, and seems to just keep getting better and better. The Shift was Whoa! Crazy, Crazy! and he's not been a detriment at all on the first line, which is a pretty good thing to say about a 20 year old. That said, he's not quite there yet. He needs to keep making progress in translating his physical gifts into shots and goals, which is something that takes time with any budding power forward. I like his chances, though. C+
Bryan- C- With the expectations set for him, it was nearly impossible he was going to reach them. Still, it would have been nice to see the flash that would have suggested he should stick around. Right now, he in Houston, getting the playing time a playmaker needs to develop. Hopefully it helps.
Emilie- C; Granlund had unreasonable expectations put on him by fans and the Wild alike. Make no mistake, Granlund is a great player. But by refusing to play him anywhere other than at C, and then giving him linemates that weren't the best help, it was a recipe for disaster. He was slowly looking better before being sent back to Houston. We'll see him back on the big club this year with better confidence is my guess.
Dan Chan- C+. Our Finnish Baby Jesus ... is still unborn. He looked good in his past few games in the NHL but started real slow at the beginning. Tons of skill but just needs to figure out a few things style-wise with his game.
Agnes- C needs more confidence and size.
Dan Czarnecki- C; His time with the Wild was just ok. He was decent sometimes, but I think the decision to send him back down to Houston was a smart one.
Tony- This didn't go well his first go-round. But he's only 21, and smaller players tend to take longer to figure it out. I'm disappointed that his results haven't been better In lieu of a grade somewhere in the D range, he gets to retake the class.
Bryan- D I would fail him, but I never expected him to come back, so the fact he is out there says a ton about the guy's character. His play has not been up to the standard he has set for himself in the past, and he has been a healthy scratch because of it. He has to be on the trading block.
Emilie- D-; I've said my piece on PMB. He hasn't been the same since his concussion, and while that isn't his fault, it's still hurting the team. This is a business, and he's not beneficial to the team anymore. It's been well documented by Russo that the Wild have tried to trade him most of the season but can't find a dance partner.
Dan Chan- F. I have been fan of Bouchard for awhile even during the periods where he would struggle in previous seasons. He's a slick playmaker that can play hard in the offensive zone and isn't afraid to grind for the puck. The problem is, he isn't making any plays that are converting. As a result, he isn't giving anything more than a bottom six player that isn't physical or strong.
Agnes- F. He's playing scared. I understand, but at some point he's got to man up or bow out.
Dan Czarnecki- D; He really hasn't been doing too much up to this point. Hopefully the last half of this season can be better for him.
Tony- It's hard to write this, because I like Bouchard. I like his skills. I like his story, and think it's amazing he's overcome all the concussion issues to even be playing now. I have his jersey. But he is everything the Wild don't want or need to be right now. Small, pass-happy, and not physical. He might fare better in the East than the very physical West, but he couldn't be a worse fit on this club right now. F
Bryan- C Of the bottom three D-man, I am most comfortable with Stoner on the ice. He isn't spectacular, but he is good enough to be a third pairing defenseman. There really isn't much else to say here. He is what he is.
Emilie-D+; Stoner hasn't been bad...but he hasn't been good either. He's just kind of there. And when he makes a mistake, you think "well, it was Stoner, makes sense". Pairing him with Falk is the worst idea ever. Whenever the two of them are on the ice together, something horrible is about to happen
Dan Chan- B+. After spending years in the AHL, I really didn't expect much from Stoner; maybe a filler on the bottom pairing. But Stoner has been a solid #4 defenseman for the Wild, has looked strong defensively and consistently physical.
Agnes- C - I'm not really noticing him on the ice this season.
Dan Czarnecki- A-; Another one of our good defenders.
Tony- Stoner's job is to be a stay-at-home defenseman. I think he does his job well. C+
Bryan- A- He struggled for ten games, but has turned into a Norris trophy nominee. The defense is solid, the offense is present, and the Wild are getting every dime worth of the payday they gave him. One of the best in hr league, and he is showing it right now.
Emilie- A; A slow start, but once he got comfortable there was no turning back for him. Nashville fans can complain and say Weber is better, but I am firmly in the camp that Suter made Weber look good and not the other way around. 20pts, playing almost half the game, and always trying to improve his game. He'd get an A+ if he'd stop scoring own goals on Backstrom.
Dan Chan- A-. Like Parise, paid to be a top defenseman. At first, there was a little bit of doubt of whether Suter could be successful without Shea Weber, but if the past few games are any indication, the Wild should be set on the #1 position for the next 13 years.
Agnes- B+ he's taken awhile to adjust to the system, but he's finally getting there
Dan Czarnecki- B+; He has really been picking up the pace lately. He finally scored his first goal of the season against his former team, the Predators, and he's been getting pretty good at blocking shots.
Tony- Suter's been the kind of defenseman the Wild have needed, and never had. He's been eating minutes like crazy, moves the puck with ease, and to top it off, is second among defensemen in scoring. His slow start has to factor in a bit, but I feel overall he's had the biggest impact on the team, even more so than Parise. A-
Bryan- A+ It's hard to fault near perfection. The kid is just so good. Defensively he is almost unbeatable, he recovers from the rare mistake well, and he is starting to find his offensive game. The kid is one of the reasons behind Suter's resurgene, no question. Bob McKenzie even mentioned him as a Calder candidate. About time.
Emilie- A+; Good grief. Where to began with the Swedish Phenom. I watched him play every game in Houston before his injury and even I am flabbergasted at how well he is playing. Sky is the limit with him. Calm, poised, collected, amazing. He looks like he stepped out of the womb, grabbed a stick and some skates and started keeping pucks away from goalies. I would give all my internal organs to keep him on the Wilds roster until he retires.
Dan Chan- A+. A 19-year old being an NHL team's #2 defenseman? Yeah, we have something special in Brodin. He is just so slick and reliable in every zone of the ice. I was really sceptical about any claims of him being the next Nick Lidstrom but his play this season just may make me change my mind.
Agnes- A - can this kid be any better?
Dan Czarnecki- B-; Brodin has had a good start for his NHL debut. He's really helped our defense out, and it's really been showing.
Tony- What can anyone say about Brodin that hasn't been said? He's unbelievably advanced for a 19 year old, he plays large amounts of important minutes in all situations, he's just smooth and composed constantly. He's been nothing short of a revelation, making things hard for opponents and Wild fans alike. A+
Bryan- C- Another guy that could come or go and no one would much notice. Great guy, but his game is in the 6/7 range and is likely topped out. His season thus far has been wholly unnoticeable.
Emilie- D+; Scratched lots, and let's be honest here folks. The reason that he has so few GA when he's on the ice is because he's rarely on the ice.
Dan Chan- C-When he sees the ice, he looks solid, but he is just being pushed out of the picture one Wild defenseman at a time.
Agnes- C - again, I barely notice him, although that could be because he's frequently scratched.
Dan Czarnecki- C; He hasn't been able to produce any assists for us. Average performance at best.
Tony- See Falk
Bryan- D+ The Justin Falk era is over. The size is there, he is not often out of position, but he just never found the next gear. He is a journeyman AHL / NHL borderline guy. Not much more than that to be had here.
Emilie- D-; I can think of nothing positive to say about Falk right now. Poor Gibby for having to deal with him every game.
Dan Chan- B-. I don't expect much from Falk other than a reliable defensive defenseman, but was surprised to see he had a little bit of jump in his game to try to jump start some Wild offense. It was refreshing to see and don't mind seeing more of it.
Agnes- C - I don't know what to say here. He could be a lot better. Or maybe this is as good as he gets.
Dan Czarnecki- B; Good at blocking shots when he needs to.
Tony- Falk's been about what you would expect Falk to be. Too bad it's not really that good. D+
Bryan- C There were some big expectations for another step from Spurgeon. It didn't happen. Maybe it was the injury, maybe playing with d partners that likely shouldn't be in the NHL. Who knows, but Spurgeon's development has stalled a bit. He's still a damn fine d-man, just would like to see the next step
Emilie-B; I had high expectations for Spurgy, and he's mostly lived up to them. His injury was unfortunate, but honestly a gift from the hockey gods. The Suter/Brodin pairing is so perfect, and without Spurge getting injured it might not have happened until later. Spruge is anchoring his own pairing now, and throwing hits like he's 6'10 and not 5'8. I like how he plays with the pressure off of him, and let's face it...when Suter wasn't playing well there was a lot of pressure on Spurge
Dan Chan- B-. On a team that is in dire need of a puckmoving defenseman, Spurgeon just hasn't stepped up. He is still reliable and does help the team offensively, but he just hasn't taken control of the need, especially on the powerplay.
Agnes- B - he's been pretty solid and reliable
Dan Czarnecki- B; Another pretty good defender for us. He's also picked up 3 assists too.
Tony- Spurgeon seems so much better when he isn't the best offensive option on the team. He still plays a solid, puck-moving game with good positional defense, and he does it for more than 21 minutes a game. Doesn't rack up the points like Suter, or have the precocious wizardry of Brodin, but a very solid option. B
Bryan- C He is much improved from the dismal failure he was to end last season, but his game is still not all that impressive. Be honest with yourselves. You look at Suter and Brodin, and then look and Gilbert and think, "He's really good," right? No. You don't. He's average, with flashes of good. He could be in the line up or not, and I don't think the team even notices. Meh.
Emilie- B-; Gilbert has finally been able to shake off the NNS nickname. Like Spurge, he plays better when the team isn't dependent on him to play half the game and be a number one defender. Last season I cursed him out every game, this season those rage-filled moments at Gibby have been few and far between. If he had a better D partner I think he'd look a hell of a lot better.
Dan Chan- C+. Gilbert has been a solid defenseman but hasn't done much to help some of the offensive problems from the blueline. He started off hot but cooled off considerably afterwards.
Agnes- B. I've been pleasantly surprised by him thus far. He's adapted to the system and its working for him this season.
Dan Czarnecki- A-; Probably one of our best defenders. He's also among some of our assist leaders.
Tony- Gilbert started off strong in the scoring sheet, but has since been kind of quiet. He's still more-or-less Tom Gilbert, but it'd be preferable if he were to regain his early season form. Though part of that is probably that Spurgeon's return and Brodin's emergence have lessened the need for him to play the minutes he can. C+
Bryan- A- It's tough to fault a goalie when his team can't score goals. He has given up some softies, but even Hasek, Roy, and Brodeur have done that from time to time. Backs has been the rock he has been his entire career, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Emilie-A-; Backstrom has stepped up and shown why he's a number goalie. With Hardings MS, the tough schedule and new kids knocking on the door, Backstrom could have just rolled over. But he's stepped and basically taken over the net. He's numbers are great, and could earn himself a new contract with this kind of play
Dan Chan- B+. Been strong in net and really works great in the Wild system. He isn't a goaltender that is going to steal games consistently, but he's going to really compliment Yeo's system nicely and do it in a very non-flasy way.
Agnes- B- he needs to work on rebound control a bit, but otherwise solid
Dan Czarnecki- B; He does a good job of saving pucks, but he has let up quite a few easy goals so far this season. He tends to struggle in the shootout too.
Tony- Backstrom is showing Wild fans why they'll miss him if he walks at the end of the year. He's been a workhorse this year, starting 19 of the Wild's 26 games, and has been good in most of them. Thanks to a rash of flukey looking goals, his save percentage doesn't look as good as it should, but Backstrom is once again having a season that shows he's one of the better goalies in the league, even if it misses "elite" by a tad. B+
Bryan- B+ He has not been the best, but he is unseasoned and still young. He has the tools to be a great NHL goalie, but the team has not exactly been super supportive of goalies this season. The Wild need someone who can win all on their own, and Kuemps just isn't there yet. He will be, he just isn't yet.
Emilie-B; Kuemper surprised a lot of people when he got called up over Hackett. He showed everyone what those of us familiar with his play in Houston already knew; he's a damn good goalie and will look good in a Wild jersey full time in the near future
Dan Chan- B. He looks a little shaky but that is to be expected from a rookie goaltender that began the season in the ECHL. He still manages to put up some solid performances, but there were times where I held my breath, watching the very lanky kid protect the net.
Agnes- B Did well in his call up, especially against Detroit and Chicago
Dan Czarnecki- B+; Pretty good NHL debut he's had. He knows how to stop pucks as good as Backstrom does.
Tony- Darcy Kuemper has done everything the Wild could expect him to do. B+
Bryan- Incomplete It is difficult to grade him right now. I want to give him an A just for being around despite the circumstances. That's about as fair as failing him because of the circumstances. So, for now, I give him an incomplete, and simple wish him the best and hope he can find a way to play again.
Emilie- Incomplete; It's tough to grade Harding. He played as many games as Kuemper, but it just doesn't feel like we've seen him enough to give him a grade. He seems confident that he'll be back on the ice soon.
Dan Chan- A+. My favourite goaltender and I respect him even more after all the stories of his MS. A+ for battling it out.
Agnes- B Had one bad game but otherwise, did well
Dan Czarnecki- C-; Can't really say too much about Harding as he hasn't had too much playing time this season due to trying to get over his MS. For the times he has played for us, he hasn't been as strong as Backstrom.
Tony- So far, Harding's had a great game, two disasters, and a decent appearance in relief. Not enough of a sample size to really judge, particularly with the extenuating circumstances. Incomplete