The Minnesota Wild’s 2014-15 campaign went as many people had expected it to go. While there is certainly great talent and potential on the roster, there has always been room to improve. Until Devan Dubnyk was traded to the team, they showed their need for a new goalie. Their depth with their forwards was shown to be a swing or a miss due to the fact that many of them are still developing players who have not yet hit their stride. They were able to produce goals and were better at not allowing goals, especially on the penalty kill. After acquiring Dubnyk, they rocketed themselves up the Western Conference and found themselves landing a spot in the playoffs. However, as many expected, they were shown the door out by the Chicago Blackhawks for the third straight season, again leaving the team as well as the fans wondering what can be done to get over that hump. My first guess would be to shake things up within the organization and make bold moves. If a big name has to be traded off for some prospects to keep the window open longer, so be it. If making any more progress requires a new coach or a new GM, then do what it takes. So far, the Wild have not made any big splashes or very many moves for that matter, and that might hurt them in the upcoming season.
As far as the upcoming season goes for Minnesota, I can see a lot of potential but not much guaranteed in the success department. They should have consistent and solid goaltending if Dubnyk does what he needs to do and having a good backup like Kuemper. Their defense shouldn’t disappoint either considering that not much was lost in free agency and the 6th defensive spot is still left open to one of the many young defensemen. Not only does that create competition that the from office would love to see, but it also reminds the Wild of the promise left in their defense. The offense is where I see problems forming for the team. Stewart left for Anaheim, Brodziak left for St. Louis, and Bergenheim is still floating in free agency. While the loss of these forwards will not destroy the team, it does take out depth that the team could certainly use. There isn’t much left in Iowa for great promise, so until they have reloaded it with more prospects they are left with free agency and what they currently have on the team. I still see Minnesota as a playoff team, but there is a doubt about being a Cup contender. I see the Wild having another solid year and landing a spot in the playoffs. I can see them landing a wild card spot much like they did this previous season. How far they make it in the playoffs will be a luck of the draw. If the Blackhawks happen to cross their path, the result of previous matches could easily expected to be the same. I would absolutely love to see them finally have Chicago’s number, but they didn’t make the sort of changes that they would need to in order to beat them, which mainly seems to be getting the puck in the net.