For some time, it seemed like the Minnesota Wild went as far as Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu would take them. As important as that trio remains, it’s clear that the team is developing a young supporting cast that could change a top-heavy club to a deep, scary group.
(Just ask the Chicago Blackhawks, who seemed relieved to escape their second-round series in six games.)
The team’s promising group of prospects/improving young players isn’t lost on Wild owner Craig Leipold, who praised GM Chuck Fletcher’s team-building skills to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“I mean, what good are bringing two players like that in if you can’t surround them with good guys?” Leipold said. “When I think of all the contributions Chuck has made to this organization, the biggest is the way he has drafted and developed. That enables us to do everything else that we do.”
” … I like his style.”
Twenty-two-year-old forward Mikael Granlund is the most obvious example of Minnesota’s youth movement, yet he’s far from alone. Charlie Coyle (22), Jonas Brodin (20), Jared Spurgeon (24) and Nino Niederreiter (21) are just some of the players who can be key pieces, especially as they get closer to their prime years.
It’s a pretty foreboding proposition for a Central Division teeming with franchises that look like they’re only going to get better.