In our never ending quest to provide unique and semi-entertaining material for your consumption, Hockey Wilderness is proud to unveil the first ever weekly Wild Stock Market Report. In the report, we will look at who is up, who is down, and if you should be buying low, or selling high. We hope you enjoy it.
With the team in Finland for over a week, and the first two regular season games under their belt, there have been positives and negatives. The lack of winning aside, some players outperformed themselves, and others struggled. Some are on a course for greatness, while others simply are falling flat. Get your fake stock market skills ready as you get a recommendation on how to allocate those emotional fan investments.
Join me after the jump for who's up, and who's down.
Matt Cullen: 70% face off win percentage, a goal and an assist through two games, multiple chances created, solid on the forecheck, and solid in the defensive zone. I would say the Wild got exactly what they paid for and more. Certainly one of the bright spots of the pre-season and the Finland trip, Cullen is near the top of the list when it comes to positives.
Guillaume Latendresse: He had the first goal of the NHL season, but his conditioning is in question, and he has been relegated to the third line. This does not bode well for a player who signed a deal geared at proving he was who everyone thought he was. He has played solid hockey, but something is missing, and that most likely is the hip injury and the conditioning coming through.While we still do not agree with his demotion, it at least seems to have some justification behind it.
Cal Clutterbuck: A hat trick vs Ilves, playing on the second line with Havlat and Cullen, and still rattling cages every night. He has been the best forechecker on the team, and has created multiple scoring chances. As he sits right now, he has zero points, and has not seen the power play time to turn him into a real offensive threat. He has certainly showed some promise, but needs to get to the net and battle, and simply needs to shoot more.
Justin Falk: His 15:34 of TOI /G will certainly start to creep up if he can continue to be the shut down beast the Wild desperately need. He has leveled some big hits, helps clear out the front of the net, and has yet to get caught with his pants down like many of the other defenders. It would not be surprising to see Falk out on the penalty kill more and more, either.
Rating: Strong Buy
Brad Staubitz: Not really able to play his game as of yet, Staubitz looked completely ineffective against Carolina. It's not surprising he was subbed out for Wellman in game two, as the Canes simply went around him, and had no desire to drop the gloves with anyone. He wasn't horrible defensively, but only had 7:08 of TOI to work with, too. He'll come around once the Wild begin to play the Western Conference teams and things begin to get a bit more chippy.
Brent Burns: After a couple of disappointing seasons, and some brutal injuries, Inglewood Jack is back to form. He created some offensive chances, pinched at the right times, and got back to cover when mistakes were made. He looks, as early in the season as this is, to be back to him old self. That can only bode well for the Wild.
Cam Barker: Took a very ill advised interference call that led to a Carolina goal, and his footwork has yet to impress. He is continue to be a third pairing defender unless he can find a way to fix these issues very quickly. Third pairing keeps him off the PK, and off of the power play, which is where is talents are best suited to be. He needs some time with a solid defensive partner, but he won't get it unless he pulls his game together.
Team as a Whole: Clearly the team is struggling to put together a winning formula. Whether it is the coaching, the system, mental lapses, lack of talent, whatever. It doesn't matter. At the end of the day, all that counts are wins, and the Wild have yet to register one against an NHL team. With a huge emphasis on off season conditioning, it does not seem to have added anything to the fast start this team so desperately wanted. No doubt the staff and the players are both searching for answers, but until they find them, this is a dangerous team to invest in.
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