Good Afternoon Wilderness! Today I am going to talk briefly about the Wild's roster. Obviously, the Wild scored big-time when they signed former Minnesota Golden Gopher Thomas Vanek during the 2014 free agent signing period.
That being said, the Minnesota Wild lack toughness with the departure of Cody McCormick and Clayton Stoner. McCormick was a player that the Wild wanted to resign, but he resigned with the Buffalo Sabres. With the loss of McCormick and Stoner, the Wild need to add a player to protect the Wild's high-end, skilled players.
Perusing the Wild's current roster, there's lot of high-end, skilled players on the roster. Being a skilled, puck possession team is great, but the Wild lack needed toughness. As you saw last season, teams are going to take runs at the Wild's skilled players. There needs to be a deterrent, to protect the Wild's skilled players.
Wild need an insurance policy
The Minnesota Wild do have "some" toughness, but have no designated fighters. Matt Cooke is an agitator and not a designated pugilist. The Wild agitator hasn't been assessed a major for fighting since the 2010-11 season.
Former Golden Gopher defenseman Stu Bickel is a known pugilist, but is a horrible defensive liability. I would be shocked if he's actually on the Wild's opening day roster. You can color me surprised if he makes it.
The Wild need to add a player with toughness that can score 10-15 goals, kill penalties and protect his fellow teammate's backside. For obvious reasons, the Wild need to proceed carefully, they don't want to waste a roster spot on a one-dimensional goon. Then need an insurance policy.
Left wing Center Right wing
Cody Almond (550K)
Vying for spots: Zucker, Almond, Stephane Veilleux (587,500), Brett Sutter ($600K), Michael Keranen (792,500), Joel Rechlicz (600K), Brett Bulmer (780K), Kurtis Gabriel (667K), Tyler Graovac (747,500), Zack Phillips ($863,333), Brady Brassart ($836,667), Raphael Bussieres ($759,167), Zack Mitchell (615K), Curt Gogol ($551,667).
Left Defense Right Defense
Keith Ballard (1.5M) Christian Folin (925K)
Jon Blum (RFA)
Vying for spots: Folin, Blum, Stu Bickel ($600K), Matt Dumba (894,167), Gustav Olofsson (795K), Guillaime Gelinas, Colton Jobke.
According to Michael Russo, the Wild are interested in St. Louis Blues unrestricted free agent forward Steve Ott. Yeah, that Steve Ott. Looking at Ott's numbers, he scored (9g-14a-23pts) in 82 games last year. According to Hockey Fights, Ott was also in four fight's last season.
In closing, I would like to pose a question to Wild fans, who would you like to see fill the tough guy role for the Minnesota Wild?