Devin Setoguchi, Josh Harding

Offseason Report: Minnesota Wild


From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

2011-12 season

35-36-11, 80 points. Fourth in the Northwest Division, 12th in the Western Conference.


Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Torrey Mitchell, Zenon Konopka, Jake Dowell


Nick Johnson, Warren Peters, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin

2012 Draft

First round, 7th overall — Mathew Dumba, D (WHL Red Deer)

Looking back

No team changed its identity this summer more dramatically than the Minnesota Wild.

Of course, that’s what you get by spending over $200 million in free agency. While most of that went to ex-Nashville defenseman Suter and former New Jersey Devils captain Parise, the Wild also spent significantly in upgrading forward depth with Mitchell, Dowell and ex-Ottawa tough guy Konopka.

But let’s not kid ourselves — this offseason was all about Suter and Parise. By inking the pair, owner Craig Leipold not only drastically improved his on-ice product, but also added star power to his club. The Wild are a marquee attraction that has been buoyed by a surge in season ticket and merchandise sales, a club that will likely garner plenty more attention when they set out on the road this year.

Looking forward

The real wildcard of Minnesota’s offseason is that Parise and Suter were added to an organization boasting incredible prospect depth. Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin could all challenge for roster spots in 2012-13, which would create an exciting mix of established veterans (lest we forget Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley et. al) and young talents.

There’s also the fact that, as late as December of last season, the Wild were in top spot in the NHL. Head coach Mike Yeo had them playing a tight, scrappy and defensive-oriented game that was highly successful until injuries and the law of averages caught up.  By adding some more talented pieces to a solid core, there’s major belief the Wild will be back in the postseason in 2012-13.

Whatever the case, this should be one of the most highly anticipated seasons in franchise history…if not the most.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Wild’s 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
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Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.