When the Minnesota Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to big contracts this summer, hopes were high that the team’s offense would get a boost.
And not only would the Wild score more goals, it would score a few in style.
Hasn’t turned out that way.
Heading into tonight’s home game against Calgary, Minnesota ranks 29th in goals per game (2.06) and is still, according to critics, playing boring dump-and-chase hockey.
Parise, however, doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the Wild’s system. It’s the execution that’s been the problem.
“We would all love a game where you can skate it in, curl up and make a play every time,” he said, per the Star Tribune. “That’s not the way the game is played. When we do have the opportunity to skate it in, we all have the green light to do it, but not at the risk of having a D gap up in your face, trying to make a cute play at the blue line, turning it over and having them come right back down on us.”
Conceding the obvious fact that turnovers at the opposition blue line are a bad thing, so too is losing the overall possession battle.
Good teams — whether by carrying the puck in or by making smart dump-ins and getting after it — find a way to gain control in the attacking zone.
The Wild hasn’t found that way enough this season.
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Kyle Turris was far from an accomplished NHLer when he requested a trade out of the Coyotes organization. In fact, when he was dealt to the Senators in 2011, the third overall pick in the 2007 draft had just 46 points in 137 NHL games.
Since then, Turris has emerged as Ottawa’s top center, with the promise of a big payday in the summer of 2018 when his current $17.5 million deal expires and he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
It’s for that very reason that he can understand Jonathan Drouin‘s position with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“It’s tough,” Turris told the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone has mixed feelings, and especially not being an established player. Then people are doubting that you’re doing the right thing, you really have to have confidence in yourself and your ability to do it.”
Though Turris, now 26, took a “lot of heat from the media…and people within the organization” and recalls the time after his trade request was made public as a “tough, tough go,” he believes the opportunity he received with the Sens “saved” him.
As we’ve written in the past, you don’t have to agree with how Drouin is handling things — maybe it ends up hurting him; he still has a lot to prove — but there have been young players who have chosen similar paths, and it’s worked out well for them.
Drouin, by the way, has 40 points in 89 NHL games.