The ability to predict what is going on with the Wild is about as easy as predicting what will happen with a penny stock on the actual stock market. They could catch a tail wind and take off to heights never predicted, or they could falter and fall out of playoff contention before they ever sniff it.
The problem is, you just never know, so it may be easier just to sit back and enjoy the ride. Buy into the good things, sell the bad things, and keep yourself from cardiac arrest. What are those positives you can buy into? Make the jump and find out.
Guillaume Latendresse (BTE): Lats has bounced anywhere from his projected role as a second line wing, ll the way down to the fourth line checking role. He has three goals, three assists, and is tied for third on the team with six points. On the three goals, there have been five different player to earn assists. The bouncing around doesn't seem to be upsetting his production, but he looks good on the ice, and has performed in every situation, yet has received little reward for that success. Until he cements his spot on the second line, he is a risky buy in, but eventually, you need to decide to buy or sell.
Matt Cullen (TWI): Leading the team with nine points, eight of which have come on the powerplay. When Cullen was signed, we all figured he would have an impact. At 1.2 point sper game, he is on pace for around 105 points. Does anyone think he finishes with 105 points? Let's just say if he does... Chuck Fletcher becomes the GM of the decade. Before the season, we here at Hockey Wilderness said he would have a career year, and thus far, Cullen is making us look pretty good.
Rating: Strong Buy
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (BUCH): Given the "full go" for contact in practice just this morning, Bouchard still has some time before he sees game action. However, this is a big step in his progress, and the team could certainly use his skills. It is still unclear where he would fit in the lineup, especially when he first returns, but he will score points. Eventually. It would be irresponsible to get your hopes up this early, but the point here is to buy low, so it could be time to buy.
Niklas Backstrom (BAX): We have thus far steered away from the number goalie in the franchise. Why? Because it is generally bad juju to talk about goalies, especially when they are struggling. However, Backstrom is having a solid year, save for a couple brain cramps early in the year. He has stood strong, and kept the team in games, and flat out stole the game in Edmonton. This is the Backstrom from two years ago. Now... if the team could play in front of him, he'd be all set.
Cam Barker (LEDY): Sigh. It is time to pass judgment here. When Cam Barker came in last season, he showed offensive upside, was skating in a tandem with Brent Burns, and there were signs of promise. However, this season, he has shown that his footwork issues are more than a fluke, and has shown little offense. He has found himself on the third pairing again, and being out shined by his defensive partner Justin Falk. While I still really don't care about Nick Leddy, not anything Leddy will ever do with the Hawks, Barker's contract is a ridiculous number for a third pairing d-man. Yes, SpaethCo, you were right.
Rating: Strong Sell
Cal Clutterbuck (CBUK): There have been some requests for an update on where Cal is at, thus we shall answer. Clutterbuck is on the other end of the Latendresse line bouncing. When Lats moves up, Cal moves down. Through it all, Clutterbuck continues to pay his game. He is still one of the strongest forecheckers on the team and is still creating plenty of havoc on the ice. While he still is not a second line player, he is who he is, and that is enough reason to buy.
Minnesota Wild (W): It has thus far been more of the same from the Wild. Up and down, inconsistent, lost on the road. Some many good things going on with the team, and so little success to show for it. At some point the "moral victories" need to turn into... you know... victories. The same problems remain form last season: inconsistent effort, soft team defense, and a lack of shooting. We are left to wonder if it is the coach, the system, or the players. In an equation such as that, it generally does not end well for the coach.