When a team fails, fans and pundits often blame the best players. While it’s true that the Minnesota Wild’s top guns shot blanks in the 2013 playoffs, the bottom line is that their big-name guys carried them last season and will need to do the same in 2013-14.
Sure, it’s true that young players like Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin, and Mikael Granlund could take the next step forward, but Minnesota’s offseason indicates that they’re only going to depend more on a select group of contributors.
Whether it be via trades or free agent departures, the Wild said goodbye to four of their top-10 scorers from 2013 during this summer. Saying goodbye to Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi might hurt the most.
That means the Wild will look to Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville even more next season.
Pominville, 30, managed nine points in 10 regular season contests with Minnesota, so it could be a big year for him. He joins fading sniper Dany Heatley as the team’s biggest contract year wildcards.
Potentially embattled head coach Mike Yeo must determine if it’s best to load up with a Parise – Koivu – Pominville line or if he should spread the wealth.
Barring some unexpected breakthroughs, it’s tough to imagine Minnesota boasting a balanced attack in 2013-14, so it might all come down to some heavy lifting from the guys taking home the biggest checks.
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