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HW Staff Wild MVP Picks

You've seen the nominations over the last several days. Today, the staff reveals their picks and you can participate in the poll and comments section.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

We've revealed 5 candidates for team MVP in Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle, Devan Dubnyk, Mikko Koivu, and Ryan Suter.  Now each of us will lay out our choice for the top prize.  Please let us know your choice via the poll and comments section.  Here we go:

Aaron Holm @The_Noogie

The Wild season MVP. Man, that is a hard one to figure out now isn't it? I mean, there are a few gems amongst the group. Your Parise's, Koivu's Coyle's and such. Parise led the team in goals, and shots on goal by a country mile. Koivu led the team in points, Coyle led the kids in goals, but was any of it really all that great?

For a team that lacked a pure goal scorer for yet another season, in order to pick an MVP you really have to focus on the secondary statistics. While it's tempting to give the honors to one of the big time names on the team, I'm going to put my confidence and my vote into one of the kids. He might not have the most goals, or the most points, or play in every situation, but his effort level rarely wained.

Charlie Coyle my friends, has had what one might describe as a breakout year. We knew Parise would be good, you know what Koivu is going to bring to the table, and he had a nice rebound year. We know Suter is solid on defence and would notch more than his share of points this year (the 8 goals were a nice surprise too), but Coyle scored on 15% of his shots this year, scoring 10 more goals than last season on 20 more shots. He was given a bigger role on the team and by in large, he stepped up. So with that, my vote for the 2016 Minnesota Wild team MVP goes to Charlie Coyle.

Chris Boyd @ConnoiseurCRay

Nino Niederreiter is the Wild’s MVP. He has been the most consistently good of the candidates, and is near the top or at the top of every category that matters. Coyle has had stretches where he is better (and is my runner up) but Nino has simply been more consistent.

B. @MNgrrrrrl

My pick for MVP is the Wild's captain Mikko Koivu, who had a surprisingly fantastic year, and was everything I wanted from leadership. He leads the team in points, and played in every game. He leads the team with 10 power play goals, which is weird, but super cool. If you had told me that he'd lead the team in power play goals I wouldn't have believed you, but here we are. This is his most productive season since 2008-09. He's thirty-three, and at a point in his career where it would make sense for him to take a step back this happened instead. It's unexpected, and almost certainly an anomaly, but it was a lot of fun. His line with Niederreiter and Zucker at the start of the season was probably the best line the Wild have had all year. Watching them play brought me a lot of joy. In a year where a lot of things have gone wrong there hasn't been an obvious reason to question his leadership. As fans we don't know what's happening inside the locker room, but Koivu's said and done the right things to make me feel confident in the team, probably more than they deserved sometimes. Of the people who wear letters for the Wild he's the only one whose judgement I haven't questioned this year. He sounds excited to see the younger players on the team take larger roles. Leadership might be an intangible, but saying or doing things that make this team seem functional is valuable, even if it can't be measured. If that doesn't mean anything to you, he's still leading the team in points, is a positive possession player, and wins a lot of face offs.

Dakota Case @Dakota_Case

ChAHlie "Chowdah" Coyle isn't going to win this award. But it's not because he isn't good - there are just a few better candidates above him. That said, what a year for the 23-year-old! An ironman who isn't afraid to throw his weight around, Charlie has been fantastic at times when the rest of the team around him struggled to just hop over the boards for a shift. In 81 games prior to Saturday's season finale, the 2010 28th overall pick put together an impressive campaign, but you might not know it to look at his possession stats. Both his Corsi and Fenwick numbers were career lows (47.5 CF% and 48.7 FF%), but his basic statistics were career highs. Coyle's 42 points were good for sixth in team scoring, while his 21 goals were bested only by occasional line-mate Zach Parise (26).

Perhaps a big reason for his break-through is the amount of time spent on the wing, where it's clear he truly belongs at the NHL level. The hulking winger is nearly impossible to knock off the puck, and has a knack for winning puck battles down low and creating time and space for his teammates. I've called him this many times before, and I'll do so again - Charlie Coyle is a moose of a player and, while he may not win Hockey Wilderness' Minnesota Wild Regular Season MVP, ol' Chowdah's still the MVP in our hearts.

Tory Palattao @TorPalattao12

Nino Niederreiter has been a hot, Avs killing forward this season.  Nino had only 9 goals when Yeo was fired then scored 11 goals when Torchetti took over and has reached 20 goals, just 4 short of last year's mark.  He also has 43 points (20-23=43).  As one of my editors, Chris, wrote in his latest article Nino has the most 5v5 goals on the team, is second on the team in 5v5 assists; a team-leading total of 35 points at even strength this season even though he is fourth for TOI among forwards.  The success doesn't stop there though, Nino is also tied for the fastest scoring forward on the Wild at 2 P/60 at even strength this season.

Also from Chris' article, not only is Nino a point ninja, but he is also a possession wizard.  Even though Nino has the fourth highest TOI, he has allowed the second fewest shot attempts against.  Both Nino and Jason Zucker have been on the ice for 841 SAT despite having 100 minutes more than Zucker.  Erik Haula has them both beat with 733 SAT but has almost 200 fewer minutes than Nino.  This all tallies up to Nino allowing the fewest shot attempts against per 60 on the team.

Barry Campbell @bjvcampbell

These are some tough choices, as no one's season really stood head and shoulders above the rest.  I love the stability Dubnyk brought in the net, I love the big step Coyle took in his development and how he looks at his natural position on the wing, and Nino absolutely blew me away after a slower start.  I think it's fantastic that we are talking about two of the young guns in this conversation rather than the expected litany of veterans we usually choose from.  It gives me hope that this team can remain relevant for quite some time and sooner or later will find a winning formula and some deep playoff runs.  To make this decision, I had to ask myself the same question Chris Harrison asks all of the Bachelors before they hand out their final rose, "which one couldn't you live without?"

The answer for me is Nino Niederreiter.  While his numbers only appear to be flashy in the second half, he has made every player he has played with the entire season better in almost every way.  This assertion passes both the fancy stat and eye test as he has been an incredible possession driver and the cog in the wheel of the Wild's two most dominant forward lines this season in Nino-Mikko-Zucker and Nino-Haula-Pominville.  His scoring is streaky, sure, but he has also taken a step in the right direction, and is a force on the forecheck and can make opponent goalies pay.   At the end of the day if I had to trade away players one-by-one, Nino would be the last player remaining on my roster and I absolutely hope the team finds a way to sign him long-term after this bridge contract runs its course.  He hasn't reached his peak yet, and no one made the players around him better than Nino did the entire year. The Wild would have had no shot at the playoffs without him unleashing guys like Haula, Zucker and Pominville, and to me that makes him the most valuable.

Tony Abbott @TonyWiseau

In the spirit of the Wild making the playoffs not because of their own agency, but because of the mercy of the Nashville Predators, my Wild MVP this season is Patrick Roy. In a season where all the Colorado Avalanche needed to do to make the playoffs was be slightly worse than they were last year (when they had 90 points), Roy put on a clinic to guide an Avalanche squad to a second-straight draft lottery.

How? Roy transcended mere trifles like "defense", or "structure", or "logic" to form a team in his own image- A run-and-gun team that couldn’t quite run. It’s dumbfounding how a team with this much offensive talent could finish only in the middle-of-the-pack in scoring. Look at Nathan MacKinnon. At age-18, he racks up 63 points. At age-20? Step backwards- merely 53. Roy has got to be the only coach in the league able to contain that guy. And as for their captain, Gabriel Landeskog? He also enjoyed a mediocre season, racking up as many suspensions (2) as game-winning goals.

Out of a possible 10 points, Roy’s Avalanche gave the Wild a whopping 9- the difference between Minnesota being in the playoffs and having the 7th pick in the draft, with a lot of those games being lost in hilarious fashion. Whether it’s blowing a 3-goal lead on Opening Night, battling back from down 3-1 only to give up 3 unanswered goals to lose on March 1st, or getting shutout in a do-or-die game in February, Colorado just kept finding a way to get a bad Wild team into the playoffs. Roy clinching it for the Wild by watching his team give up a 3rd-period goal to Craig Smith last Tuesday was just the exclamation point on an MVP season.

Joe Bouley @JoeBou15

It's really tough to pick any one player that really stuck out. It's been such an up and down year for this team and the players who were once hot, are now old and vice versa. However, my pick for the Wild's most valuable player is Nino Niederreiter.

There have been two dominant lines on this team as the season has gone on. The Nino - Koivu - Jason Zucker line was the most dominant line int he NHL when it came to puck possession metrics. While that line didn't produce the offensive numbers that is should, it's hard to say that possessing the puck in the offensive zone isn't valuable. Fast forward to February and the Nino - Erik Haula - Jason Pominville line rose up and helped this team get to this point - the playoffs. Jason Pominville struggled all season long, and struggled to find that chemistry with anyone to find the back of the net. Erik Haula had been in the doghouse under Mike Yeo, liberated under John Torchetti, and placed with Nino Niederreiter to make his success possible. Nino is the only common link between the two lines, while quietly posting amazing defensive numbers, his offense numbers finally came around down the stretch when the team needed it most. Because of all that, Nino absolutely deserves to be placed in the conversation for team MVP.