While the casual fans are now scrambling to figure out how an over weight former NFL coach with a popular series of EA Sports video games is going to play for the Wild, we'll continue on. Don't worry about them, they'll have plenty of turducken to eat while they figure it out.
Having dispensed of the mandatory jokes, make the jump and let's find out a little bit about the guy, shall we?
#0 / Center / Minnesota Wild
May 04, 1973
What these stats do not show is that Madden is a PK expert. He has 17 SHG in his career, including 6 in the 1999-2000 campaign, and 11 SHA. He won a Selke award in 2000-01, proving that every now and again, someone other than Pavel Datsyuk wins the thing.
He has never been the points leader on his team, but then again, he has never been put in that role, either. He has always had the job of shutting down the top line, playing massive PK minutes, and playing with less than stellar line mates. Yet he still put up multiple 30 and 40 point seasons.
If you care to look at last season, he had 10 goals and 13 assists for the Stanley Cup champs, (his third Cup, by the way). For some perspective, this total would have put him 9th on the team in points, and would have outpaced Robbie Earl, James Sheppard,and Derek Boogaard. Combined.Keep in mind he did all of this at age 36 (now 37).
Madden was not brought in as an offensive savior, but as a defensive specialist. He will be charged with helping the team reduce the number of goals surrendered, rather than with the number of goals scored. He will likely find his place on the third or fourth line, along with players like Eric Nystrom, Cal Clutterbuck, Brad Staubitz, etc. Madden will compete for minute with Kyle Brodziak, with both centers playing a defense first type game, and both will likely help take some of the PK burden off of the top line, and specifically Mikko Koivu.
Last year's fourth line was Boogaard - Sheppard - Earl/Ebbett
This year's fourth line could be Nystrom-Madden-Clutterbuck
I'm placing my goal stopping bet on the latter.
One more point for consideration before we adjourn for the day. Where was the Wild organization a year ago in regards to the center position? The up and comer was James Sheppard, the second line spot was fluctuating between Eric Belanger and Brodziak, they had one prospect in the position in Cody Almond, and the top shut down center was skating on the top line.
Fast forward back to today. The Wild have little to no use for James Sheppard with four more than solid centers on the roster. Koivu can now be used in a majority of offensive situations, there is a second line with potent scoring potential and a veteran at the helm in Cullen. Brodziak and now Madden are around for the shut down shifts, both capable of adding some offense while preventing the opposition from scoring. Casey Wellman showed up big time in his try out, Cody Almond is still getting better, and the Wild drafted some centers to add to the future of the position as well.
From a position of weakness, to a position of strength. The Wild now have too many centers, folks. Too many. Enjoy that for a few days, won't you.