Well one thing's for sure. The Minnesota Wild's powerplay SUCKS! The Wild rank 27th in the league with a % of 13.5. We all thought that the Wild was going to have a much better powerplay considering the fact that Mats Zuccarello, Kirill Kaprizov, and Kevin Fiala was leading the top unit with Joel Eriksson Ek as the garbage man and Jared Spurgeon as the point man who can shoot from the point or distribute the puck. Unfortunately, the powerplay has yet to be successful and eventually they'll need to score on the PP if they can't score 5v5 for some reason. It's that simple. You can't win a championship having a below average powerplay.
There are times I see Freddy Gaudreau on the powerplay on the half wall on the right side. Not sure what Dean-O is trying to do there, but Gaudreau isn't a powerplay quarterback. The thing that I be observing is that there's too many cooks in the kitchen on the top PP unit and not enough quarterbacks on the 2nd unit. You want to aim to scare the opponent with a combination of skill to overwhelm you, but players who are brought out to finish the play the dirty way. A combination. You want players who are better suited to be on a powerplay to be on the powerplay. As much as I love Foligno he's better suited as a penalty killer. If you're going to have him on the powerplay he's simply a garbage man. Rather see other players. Here's what I was thinking as far as changing up the powerplay.
Quarterback 1: Zuccarello
Quarterback 2: Kaprizov
Point man: Dumba
Quarterback 1: Fiala
Quarterback 2: Spurgeon
Point man: Goligoski
Left off for the PK: Foligno, Gaudreau, Duhaime, Sturm, Bjugstad, Brodin, Kulikov, and Merrill.
The Zuccarello - Hartman - Kaprizov line should be a PP unit if they're elite 5v5
The puck distribution between Zuccarello, Kaprizov, and Hartman has put points on the board. By the eye test Hartman is the best fit between those two because he's starting to be more confident in his shot and knows how to find the open man. This line is nothing but magic and needs to stay as a unit helping the Wild get out of its hole. Kaprizov and Zuccarello are the powerplay leaders and facilitators. Their responsibility is obvious. Zone entries, setting up other players, and opening up lanes. If an opportunity is there shoot! Hartman and JEE are the net crashers. Hartman is the better shooter than JEE which is why he's the bumper. Hartman will receive passes from either Zuccarello or Kaprizov for one-timers. After all, they can create space. If Hartman's one timer doesn't go in and there's rebounds JEE, the net front silent menace, will be there to clean the mess up! There will be a lot of action happening around the net.
Dumba takes the spot on the top unit as the point triggerman. Dumba's shot is the most dangerous on the team. He should be with the team's best duo receiving pucks left and right and shooting the crap out of the puck. Hartman can deflect pucks. JEE is the last line of offense. The thing about this powerplay is you have your distributors, shooters, and net crashers. There doesn't need to be more quarterbacks who spend too much time passing. You need shooters and net crashers to cause havoc in front of the net. If anything, Spurgeon and Fiala being on the top unit gives this team too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Spreading the wealth out is the way to go. Get your role players out there.
Fiala gets to lead the 2nd unit with reinforcements and Rem Pitlick belongs on the PP
The next unit is like having a relief pitcher in baseball. A unit who can get the job done if the top unit is struggling to get a goal. This PP is capable of scoring. Fiala and Spurgeon are the quarterbacks. I'm putting Goligoski at the point because his shots actually can get through once you set him up. So Fiala and Spurgeon are making plays from the perimeter. Goligoski is in charge of getting pucks through. Pitlick plays bumper. While watching his clips from YouTube, Pitlick often was seen playing bumper and on the half wall from the right side. Pitlick getting set up from Fiala or Spurgeon is what the doctor ordered. Or he can deflect pucks from Goligoski shooting. Greenway is at the net because he simply is a truck on skates and it's difficult to move him once he gains position at the net. He's capable of deflecting pucks or he can clean up rebounds without getting knocked off his skates. His job is to be Big Rig. Pitlick and Fiala can be another good duo for the team. It may not be as good as Zuccarello and Kaprizov, but they'll provide a dynamic element. Again, get a lot of pucks on net and open up lanes.
What's your ideas on how Evason needs to change up the powerplay? Should we bring up Matt Boldy? Should we change our 1-3-1 strategy into something else? Let me know in the comments. These powerplays have the potential to have chemistry and be a top-10 PP.