Where Do the Minnesota Wild Go From Here

The Minnesota Wild Are Stuck In A Familiar Position And Need To Decide Where To Go From There

After their first playoff miss since 2012, the Wild are still stuck in a familiar position, but have incentive to make bigger changes.

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The inevitable has finally happened. The Minnesota Wild have finally missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. After sneaking in a few times during their playoff streak and not advancing past the first round since 2015, this miss clearly signals additional changes that need to be made.

After a 101 point season in 2017-18 where they were eliminated in five games in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets, the Wild made few major changes other than firing GM Chuck Fletcher and replacing him with Paul Fenton. After a solid start to the season, the loss of defenseman Matt Dumba to a season-ending hand injury suffered in a fight against Calgary proved to be devastating as the Wild went 3-6-1 in December after said injury.

During a solid month of January, Fenton pulled the triggered on a trade of underachieving forward Nino Niederreiter to Carolina for forward Victor Rask. This trade has backfired, as Niederreiter has rebounded for 28 points in 34 games with Carolina, while Rask has only 3 points in 21 games with the Wild. The trade of forward Charlie Coyle to Boston for forward Ryan Donato looks good for Fenton, but trading key scoring forward Mikael Granlund to Nashville for forward Kevin Fiala has proved to be a wash, as neither appears to have gelled fully yet with their new teams. Losing captain Mikko Koivu to an ACL tear in February did not help the club's playoff chances either.

To his credit, Fenton has gone in the direction of youth with the previous two trades, as Fiala and Donato are both just 22 while Granlund and Coyle are both 27. Even so, additional changes need to made to improve the team and find a way to not only get back into the playoffs but make the Wild a Stanley Cup contender instead of first or second round exit.

The re-addition of Dumba and Koivu to the lineup in the fall will help, but neither appear to be incredible enough to turn them into a contender. In addition, the contract situation of the Wild makes it hard for them to completely tear the team apart and rebuild this offseason. Forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter are both 34 and have six years remaining on their matching $7.5 million per year contracts, while forward Eric Staal, also 34, was just re-signed to a two year, $3.5 million per year contract.

It would appear that the Wild would not want to trade their other three top-four defensemen in Dumba ($6 million per year until 2023), Jared Spurgeon ($5.2 million per year until 2020), and Jonas Brodin ($4.2 million per year until 2021), but you never know. A good enough offer for Spurgeon or Brodin may be too good for Fenton to pass up. With the salary structure the way it is for the Wild now, they are almost forced towards going for a playoff berth next year despite appearing to be nowhere near contending for a Stanley Cup.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau could very well be fired after the season ends, as this year's regression is quite concerning, even with the injuries and underachieving. Fenton will need to consider all of his options when contemplating major moves for the short and long term future of the franchise.

The Wild have only made it to the conference final once, coming in 2003 where they were swept by the Anaheim Ducks. For the so-called "State of Hockey", where hockey is part of the mainstream state culture, fans have to be demanding change from a middling organization.

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To The Person Feeling Like They're Losing Their Hometown Friends

Don't fret to much, if they are truly your best friends, you aren't gonna lose them.

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When you grow up and leave home to go to college or whatever your plans are after high school, you and your hometown best friends promise to make time for each other. You promise to always get together over breaks and to visit each other if you aren't going to the same schools or living in the same town.

But you realize over time that maybe those promises aren't gonna be kept.

Life gets complicated. School starts to become harder and harder, there are extracurriculars and work, and trying to figure out the rest of your lives; things start to get in the way. Visiting starts to happen less and less, getting together over breaks gets more complicated, you try to stay in contact but the hours in the day seem to get shorter and shorter. There are too many things that you have to accomplish in one day that it's difficult to know if you can even get together.

You start to ask yourself "Am I losing my closest friends?"

And the answer to that question is no, your lives are changing and things are starting to become real but they will always be there. Just because you don't talk all the time or you go a few months without seeing each other, they are still your friends. They will always care and always be there. Don't stress about it too much, they are always gonna be there, it's just that your lives are pulling all of you in different directions and it can get hard to keep up with everyone because you are all so busy.

You are growing up but you're not necessarily growing apart!

If they are truly your best friends they will always be there, and you there for them. As time goes on, your lives will continue to change but you are always gonna be friends. Just know that they are there when you need them, and when you do get to see each other, it's like nothing has changed and you pick up right where you left off. Your friendship is important to all of you. Don't let a little bit of silence or a busy life cause problems. You haven't lost them, trust me, you all are just figuring out life. Don't take it personally when you don't talk for a while.

"Amigas, Cheetahs, Friends for life" — Cheetah Girls

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10 Little Acts Of Kindness To Make A Stranger's Day

Let's spread some kindness!

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One of my favorite quotes is "It costs $0 to be nice". I love saying that to people who are rude to me (or, at least I say it after they're gone and not to their face). It takes the same amount of effort to be nice to someone than to be mean to someone. Instead of ruining someone's day, what if you made it one to remember for a positive reason?

Here are ten ways that you can improve a stranger's day. Incorporate these into your life to make an impact on the world.

1. Pay for their meal

When I was having a really hard day a few years ago, I decided to swing by McDonald's and pick up an iced coffee. I pulled up to the front window and found that the person in front of me had paid for my meal. Before I could say thank you, he had pulled away never to be seen again. Ever since then I like to pay for the person behind me whenever I can (I'm a broke college student after all). It makes someone feel like someone is out there looking out for them!

2. Compliment them

It's a priority of mine to compliment at least one person a day. If you see a cute purse or see someone rocking a new shirt, let them know you notice!

3. Put change in an expired parking meter

You've been there before: a ticket for only a few minutes over the meter. What if someone had been there to help you out and have your back? What if you were that person?

4. Post-it notes

These are great if you're on a college campus or even if you live in an apartment complex, go to the store, basically do anything outside your home! Positive affirmations left around for a stranger to spot are sure to put a smile on at least someone's face.

5. Hand out flowers

It's impossible to refuse a flower. Well, if they're not allergic.

6. Leave a big tip/kind note

My friends and I did this once at a restaurant-- the woman was overworked, but still managed to be incredibly kind and patient, which is hard to do with a group of teenagers. To thank her we wanted to give her a big tip, but none of us had money on us other than what would cover the bill.

Instead, we gave her whatever cash we had on us, any gift cards and punch cards and a long note on a napkin signed by all of us. I like to think that we made her shift a little more manageable.

7. Be positive

Be positive! If you hear someone complaining tell them the silver lining of the situation! Just don't be preachy.

8. Scrape off snow/ice on someone's car

This can basically work all the time in Michigan since apparently, it's a never-ending winter. Taking the time to help another person out will be greatly appreciated!

9. Help someone who's obviously lost

Have you ever seen someone looking like they're about to have a panic attack and freaking out because they're lost? Why not ask if you can help! Why not recommend the best places around town, too?

10. Smile

Seeing another person smile makes another person feel happier. Spread the joy!

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