Offseason Report: Minnesota Wild

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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.

Additions

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

Departures

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.