Minnesota Wild Final Season Grades: Left Wingers (Staff Writers' Grades)

The editors did their season grades for the Wild's left wingers yesterday, now it's time to see how us staff writers graded them. Feel free to do your own grades in the comments too.

Dan Czarnecki (WIMinnesotaWildFan)

Zach Parise: The big money we paid to get him was worth it. He was such a performer on our top line, despite the fact that he scored only one goal in the playoffs. His impressive performance can only get better from here, and I'm excited to see the different kind of animal he will become next season for the Wild. A-

Dany Heatley: Before he got injured, he was a decent performer for us. He really knows how to throw pucks at the net and score. Too bad he had to get injured over halfway through the season. B

Mike Rupp: He's not really a goal-scorer, but he knows how to produce some hits on our third line along with Konopka and Mitchell. All in all, his specialty is just being aggressive out on the ice, and it really showed during our regular season as well as the playoffs. B-

Jason Zucker: For being a young gun, Zucker really knows how to spring into action and get all over that puck. He will do whatever it takes to score a goal for us. I would have to say his best moment of the season was when he scored our game-winning goal in overtime of game 3 of our playoff series against the Blackhawks. A

Pierre-Marc Bouchard: PMB's improvements over the last half of this season really made up for his lackluster first half of this season. He has become a solid performer one the second line along with Cullen and Pominville. Scoring 11 goals over the course of the regular season is nothing to scoff at. B+

Aaron Holm (The Nooge)

Zach Parise: Parise lead the team with 38 points (18g/20a). His regular season stats were good enough, but his disappearance in the playoffs dropped this 98 million dollar acquisition from getting an A. If you ever need to see an example of work ethic you need look no further than ZP. If he can set the example and we can get even half of what he brings to the ice from the kids coming up, this team will look great for the foreseeable future. B

Dany Heatley: With Heater missing the last dozen games, you really did find the value in him as the team seemed to fall apart offensively around the same time. The guy is slow, and can be a defensive liability but I'd be dammed if he didn't park himself in front of the oppositions goal just waiting for the puck to get to his stick, which was sorely missed down the stretch. B-

Mike Rupp: A big body enforcer type who never seemed to enforce much of anything. Although his line was one of the finest when it came to working hard on the forecheck and making opportunities, his presence seemed to be lacking in some of the other area's we acquired him for. C-

Jason Zucker: Kid is lightning quick, shows tons of energy out there, and has that fire in his belly to succeed. He needs to learn to finish better though, there is no finer example of this than ringing one off the post in OT of game 1 at the United Center. The potential is there, we saw it first hand all season, and even a glimpse shown when he beat both Crawford and the post in OT of game 3 at the X. C+

Pierre-Marc Bouchard: I have a lot of trouble getting an accurate bead on him. He hasn't played a full season in so long, he was even benched a few game this year as coach Yeo tried to send a message to PMB. It is nearly impossible to expect the kind of production from him that he showed in his first 6 seasons, but that cannot be an excuse either. We have likely seen the last of PMB here, I do hope wherever he lands he finds success again. C+

Eric Burton

Zach Parise: Zach Parise was brought in as a major free agent signing in the offseason and he didn't disappoint Wild fans. Parise was the top scoring forward for the Minnesota Wild this past season and he brought much needed offensive support the Wild needed and were lacking. Parise is strong in all three zones on the ice and he goes hard to the net. Parise while not a very big player, takes a beating and keeps playing with that tenacious no quit attitude. A

Dany Heatley: Dany Heatley suffered a season ending shoulder injury on April 3, 2013 against the San Jose Sharks and due to his rather large contract; he is a candidate for an amnesty buyout in the offseason. Heatley is not the forward he once was when he scored 105 points for the Ottawa Senators during the 2006-07 season. Actually, Heatley is not the same forward that scored 82 points with the San Jose Sharks during the 2009-10 season. At times, Heatley looked a step slow and disinterested in playing. I also wondered if Heatley wasn't hurt because of his lack of foot speed. Over the past three seasons, Heatley's production has declined and that slide continued this season. At 7.5 million a year, Heatley is not worth the money the Wild are paying him and we have probably seen him play his last game in a Wild uniform. C-

Mike Rupp: Mike Rupp was added in the offseason to bring grit to the Wild lineup. Rupp fulfilled his role admirably and wasn't afraid to mix it up with the NHL heavyweights getting in three fights as a member of the Minnesota Wild. Rupp also brings leadership besides toughness to the Minnesota line-up and is not afraid to stick up for teammates when it was needed. Rupp is a player that brings a vast wealth of experience to the Minnesota Wild line-up. Rupp won a Stanley Cup when he was a member of the New Jersey Devils and scored the cup-clinching goal for the 2002-03 Stanley Cup Champions. B

Jason Zucker: Jason Zucker came to the Wild as a Rookie and was able to score four goals in 20 games for the Minnesota Wild. Zucker's future is very bright and learned many valuable lessons between Houston and St. Paul this past season. Zucker is a crafty player, that's a very fast skater with a pretty good shot and should be a top-six forward in the future. Zucker's upside is through the roof and could emerge as early as next season if he gets the right line combination. B-

Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Pierre-Marc Bouchard is a perimeter player that doesn't like to go to the blue paint. Bouchard has probably played his last game in a Wild uniform because of the players coming through the Wild system. That being said, Bouchard showed a glimpseť of his old self when he was teamed up with Matt Cullen and Devin Steoguchi, but it probably wasn't enough to guarantee his return to the Wild next season. Since running into concussion trouble, Bouchard has never been the player he once was when he scored 63 points during the 2006-07 season and Bouchard's production has declined each season since. C-

Tony Wiseau

Zach Parise- Parise came just about as advertised. He led the team in goals, points, and fan/columnist demands to have Mikko's C transferred to their sweater. Without Parise's goal-scoring acumen, defense, and overall tenacity, the Wild likely don't get a sniff of the playoffs. However, there's definitely room for improvement. While he was a PPG player in January and March, he was much closer to 0.5 points per game in February and April. This team needs for him to give more raw point production and consistency, and he also had, 17 shots aside, an ugly postseason vs. Chicago. However, these are nitpicks, as his play and mentoring of Charlie Coyle were immensely valuable to the team. B+

Dany Heatley- Another relative disappointment, Heatley continues to become The Shell of Dany Heatley. His stock has basically held from mid-season: He put the puck in the net with some frequency (T-3rd in goals with 11, despite playing only 36 games), but almost everything else was bad. His speed was lackluster, making him a glaring liability defensively, and even worse, he shot the puck significantly less than the previous year (2.3 times per game, down from 2.9 the previous year. While the Wild had to be disappointed in Heatley's further decline, it seems they missed his big body and ability to put the puck in the net, as the Wild's slump coincided with his (and Cullen's, and Pom Pom's) absence. His season was both useful and frustrating, and we've likely seen the last of him. C-

Mike Rupp- Rupp did his job. He was a big guy, he was physical, he got into some scraps. Not spectacular by any means, but definitely respectable. I'm happy that Fletcher acquired him early in the season. C+

Jason Zucker- Zucker's perception will no doubt be influenced to a large degree by the fact that he's a rookie. Quick! No peeking! How many points did he score in the regular season? You've probably seen it in everyone else's grades, but it's 5. In 20 games. I know comparing vets to rookies is comparing chalk and cheese, but when Bouchard matched that in his first 20 games, we wanted him run out of town. So I won't go crazy high on my grade. But, like I said, he's a rookie, so that point production is, while certainly not ideal, perfectly respectable, and his speed and grit are certainly something to be excited about. He's been more projection than polish this season, but his glimpses of success this year, as well as his OT-winning goal in Game 3 against Chicago, suggests that he'll be ready to take on a bigger role next year, and perhaps even thrive. Pro tip for Zucker: Use that shot more. A lot more. C+

Pierre-Marc Bouchard- A universal "F" in the midseason grades, Bouchard arose from the ashes to become… fairly decent. Whether it was confidence, health, finding a proper role, being pushed by the presence of Jason Zucker, or whatever, Bouchard turned his season around after being benched for three games in March. Most of that damage came from March 14-30, when he went 2-8-10 as the Wild went on their best run of the season, going 8-1 in those games. He also scored a goal and assisted on the OT winner in the Wild's playoff victory. That's gotta mean something. Bouchard's still not a good fit for the type of team the Wild wants or needs to be, but hats off to him for recouping some value in what was looking like a lost season. C

Andrew Ferraro

Zach Parise: What a start, oh what not a finish. Up until and through the team's first game at Dallas on March 25, he was humming along as the heart and soul of the team's offense. He was doing what he was being paid the big bucks to do: score and do so often. After that huge come-from-behind win, Parise scored just four goals in his last 17 games. He was so good so early and easily would have been an "A" ... but the team went 7-9-0-1 down the stretch and landed in the ill-fated 8 spot to face the non-human Chicago Blackhawks. B

Dany Heatley: Is there another left-winger that drew more of the fans' ire this season? Inconsistency certainly was an issue and expectations were relatively high entering the 48-game season ... His minus-12 rating certainly sticks out like a sore thumb, but he was heating up (pun intended) just before he was lost for the season in that game at San Jose on April 3. In 10 games leading up to the injury, he scored three goals and added five assists. The team was 10 games over .500 during that time, and his injury coincided with the team's crash back to earth. B-

Mike Rupp: I thought the Wild got good value for Rupp, and this was a move to get the Wild a bit more grit and veteran leadership. Rupp's presence paid off right away as the team went 12-6-1 from the time he was acquired until he suffered a lower body injury on or around March 18. During that stretch he added a goal and two assists before fading right along with the rest of the team. He gets a "B" for doing exactly what he was brought in to do. B

Jason Zucker: I had the pleasure of watching this kid in Houston most of the season. Great attitude, lightning speed and as well all know, he has a thing for scoring OT goals. He got the GWG in the Wild's only playoff win over Chicago and scored several of those down in the minors. But even with a high ceiling, I can't give him anything better than an average grade for what he did in St. Paul. In his first five games in the NHL, he scored three goals, added three assists and was plus-2. He got hurt, lost his spot on a good line and just never really got in a groove after that hot start. He'll be fun to watch down the road, but for now he's just a nice player on the way up. C

Pierre-Marc Bouchard: Early in the year Wild fans wanted PMB exiled to the KHL; they wanted him as far away from the team as possible. After a minus-3 game against Chicago on March 5, he was benched for three games and then responded with a nice stretch that kept him, in my opinion, from getting the first "D" grade out of this bunch. In the next six games back, PMB scored two goals and set up another seven en route to a very nice stretch for the Wild. He cooled off after that, but played well enough to earn his keep for the balance of the season. Many don't think he will be back with the Wild next season. I got a chance to work with him in Houston during the 04-05 lockout, and I think he'll make a nice addition to another team. C

Giles Ferrell

Zach Parise: Parise was a tireless worker, doing everything he possibly could, every second he was on the ice. His hard work ethic, lead him to fifth in the West in goals scored. His play behind the net is second to none in this league. B+

Dany Heatley: Heater had a hot start, but then went ice cold and found himself on the third line. One could debate what is slower in his game, his feet or his slapshot windup. Hopefully, he can get healthy and the Wild use an amnesty on him this summer. D+

Mike Rupp: Rupp brought a great gritty presence to the team when he was acquired early in the year. But injuries at the end of the season really impacted his ability to play his role adequately, and he was just as good as useless in the postseason. C

Jason Zucker: His speed and his knack for shooting the puck from anywhere on the ice, will make Zucker a big player on this team for years to come. But like all rookies, he had to battle the fact he was young and inexperienced and saw a couple of demotions this year. C

Pierre-Marc Bouchard: A terrible season for Butch, in what shapes up to be his final season in iron range red. He lacked the ability to make the correct plays, and had little production before Pominville arrived. He shaped up a bit after that trade and had a nice postseason. But overall, awful year. D

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