One of the criticisms that I have heard from time-to-time about the Minnesota Wild, is that the Wild don't have any former Minnesota Gophers currently playing for the home town team.
Wrap your fingers around this. On the 2013 Minnesota Wild roster, there were numerous Badgers, a Fighting Sioux, a Catamount, a Terrier and a Husky. But there were no Minnesota Golden Gophers. Not one.
True, the Wild have Erik Haula in the Wild's farm system, but there is no guarantee that he will even make the big squad next season or that he is even ready to play for the Minnesota Wild in the near future. Also, Haula is a native of Pori, Finland, while a former Gopher, he's not originally from the state of Hockey. Not that it matters. That's really not the point of this post. But how does a team from the State of Hockey, not have a player from the University of Minnesota?
Based on what I have seen during the past season, I would say that the Minnesota Wild are challenged defensively, after the first defensive pairing of Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin, the Wild are thin on defense and need some help.
Granted, Jared Spurgeon is a great up and coming offensive defenseman and Marco Scandella proved to be a nice surprise during the Wild's short playoff run. After that, Justin Falk proved that he's a defensive liability and at times look like a big green road cone. Former Badgers defenseman Tom Gilbert looked to have taken a step back this past season and I was unimpressed with his play as well because he was a defensive liability.
In my opinion, the Minnesota Wild could use a solid stay-at-home defenseman or two. Former Minnesota Defenseman Keith Ballard "could" be a candidate for an amnesty buyout in Vancouver and might be available to come to the Minnesota Wild at a reduced rate.
Brad Ziemer, Vancouver Sun
- It's probably a safe bet that Keith Ballard has already figured out that two-thirds of $8.4 million is $5.59 million.
The Canuck defenceman has heard the suggestions that the team will buy out the remaining two years on his contract this summer.
"I don't know," Ballard said Thursday when asked if he expected to remain a Canuck. "I have got two years left on my deal. If I am, I am. If I'm not, I'm not. I'll make the most of an opportunity here or if I end up somewhere else."
My question is; would Wild fans be interested in seeing former Minnesota Golden Gopher Keith Ballard wearing the Wild uniform? As a Wild Fan, I have always thought that Ballard would look good in a Wild Uniform. One positive is that former MSU Maverick and current St. Louis Blue David Backes would have a dance partner when he played the Wild.