One of the biggest problems the Wild have are when they are matched up against bigger teams. Teams like St. Louis, Anaheim, and Los Angeles come to mind. The Wild have been at their worst against teams with the size to impose their will on the guys in Iron Range Red.
So, naturally, in a playoff series, one of the first things I wanted to look up in this Wild-Blackhawks match-up was their sizes in comparison. So I did.
Looking back at the last game the two teams played, the Wild put a lineup on the ice that averaged out as 0.16 inches shorter, and 0.67 pounds heavier than the players on the Blackhawks' side.
So, they're roughly equivalent in size. That's a good thing, right?
Yes and no. It's a good thing that, on paper, the Wild aren't playing a team that should be able to push them around like rag dolls. But when you look at specific match-ups, you may find that the comparative size numbers may be a bit misleading. For the most striking example, please compare the sizes of the top-3 defensemen in terms of Time on Ice with each team:
Ryan Suter (27:17): 6'1"; 198 lbs.
Jonas Brodin (23:13): 6'1"; 180
Jared Spurgeon (21:33): 5'9"; 185
Duncan Keith (24:07): 6'1"; 200
Brent Seabrook (22:00): 6'3"; 221
Niklas Hjalmarsson (20:54): 6'3"; 207
The Wild's Top-3 defensemen are giving up more than 2 inches and 21 pounds on average to Chicago's Top-3 defensemen. As those are the players with the most ice time on their respective teams, that's something that warrants concern.
However, size won't be the determining factor in this matchup, as the Blackhawks have much more going for them than brawn. With forwards like Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, and Saad, the Blackhawks possess a tremendous amount of skill that would be able to take down a team of Goliaths.