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Were We Too Small?


Let's start with the defense:

Jon Merrill 6'3" 196 lbs.

Jake Middleton 6'3" 219

Jordy Benn 6'2" 199

Dmitry Kulikov 6'1" 204

Matt Dumba 6' 182

Jonas Brodin 6'1" 198

Jared Spurgeon 5'9" 167

Alex Goligoski 5'11" 185

Calen Addison 5'11" 180

Anyone wonder why we can't effectively clear the net on the PK? We have 1 people mover, and if he's in the box, there are none. This isn't just undersized, it's extremely undersized. Having a defense like this suggests you won't want to take penalties. Well, you'd be wrong, the Wild finished 3rd with 882 PIMs.

We had a very good puck moving defense, but players like Kulikov, Merrill and Benn were supposed to be physical players and they routinely couldn't knock people off the puck. This became a finesse defense and was a constant problem. The Wild seemed to account for this by sending the center deeper 5v5, but when someone was missing they were exposed, and exposed hard.

Moving forward this will need to change. None of O'Rourke, Hunt, Lambos, Peart are ready or big enough to fill this void yet. Middleton has to be a resigning priority. And, look specifically at the right side, very very small. I don't know which piece is the right one(s) to be moved, but there must be more mass on that side of the rink.

Let's look at the forwards:

Joel Eriksson Ek 6'1" 208 lbs. (I believe he's heavier than this)

Marcus Foligno 6'3" 228

Jordan Greenway 6'6" 227 (I believe he is also heavier than this)

Kirill Kaprizov 5"10" 202

Ryan Hartman 6' 181

Mats Zuccarello 5'8" 184

Freddie Gaudreau 6' 179

Matt Boldy 6'2" 195 (still filling out)

Kevin Fiala 5'10" 193

Tyson Jost 5'11" 187

Nic Deslauriers 6'1" 220

Brandon Duhaime 6'1" 203

Connor Dewar 5'10" 182

Marco Rossi 5'9" 183

Mason Shaw 5'10" 184

Adam Beckman 6'2" 182

Mitchell Chaffee 6' 197

Nick Swaney 5'10" 178

We have some gritty players, but by NHL standards, they are still small. Really, our mass is on the 3rd and 4th lines. I did not list Bjugstad as I don't think he'll be resigned. Our top 6 is pretty small. Notice there aren't many 6'4"+ players in the lineup, and none are in the top 6.

Could it be that we are simply not big enough to get to the front of the net when it matters? Could it be that we aren't as heavy as we thought? Those coming up from the A aren't large at all except for maybe Chaffee. Height is not the biggest factor, as a shorter, stockier player could be hard to knock off the puck, and could use leverage to hit effectively.

Could the construction of our team need to switch and take some larger forwards? Or maybe just thicker ones? With a shorter player, you usually also gain some shiftiness and better edges, but you lose out on reach. I think we need to pay attention to this, and when Shooter decides to trade, put some of this in the equation. Is St. Louis the only team in the West who could make us look small?

No, Calgary is built large, it appears as if the Kings will be large. Nashville tends to be built large. Winnipeg is built large. We will need to get through 1 of these teams to get through our conference most likely. I believe smaller players have a place in the game, but there needs to be balance, are we balanced or not? Clearly we aren't on defense.

The offseason is now here, changes will be made, how would you like to see them made?

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness.