The Minnesota Wild are lost another game mostly due to lack of scoring on Saturday. With their head coach trying everything he can to spark some scoring, is it now time to think about changing the lineup with the trade market?
The Minnesota Wild still need a forward. Last season and in to this last offseason it seemed like the rumors were almost daily about how the Wild were going to trade for a forward using their defensive strength as trade bait. After the signings of Eric Staal and Chris Stewart the talk died down a bit, but it still was obvious that the Wild needed maybe one or two more forwards.
Now the Wild are 17 games into the season and it still is obvious the team needs another forward or two. It seems that the one nagging personnel problem is not quite solved. The lack of scoring in the last couple of games has made it clear that the Wild need to try something to shake up their forwards.
Nov 19, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center. The Colorado Avalanche beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
The defenseman and goaltenders are playing excellent hockey this season, and dare I say it’s some of the best performances on the defensive side of the puck this team has seen in a long time. As bad as Saturday’s loss to the Avs was, it was only the 6th time in the team’s 17 games that they have given up three goals or more, and have a total of 32 goals against. That’s good enough to put the Wild best in the NHL in goals against.
On the other side of the puck the Wild have netted 44 goals for and are 23rd in the league in goals for. That’s clear the Wild have an unbalanced game that threatens to bring their season down. The scoring must improve.
Still you get the sense that Bruce Boudreau is trying about all the tricks he knows to spark scoring. They’ve mixed lines so many times you can easily say that every player has played with each other at one time or another this season. The coaching seems to be trying to do its job but the players just aren’t responding.
The issue then becomes do these players belong on the roster? Is there a change of personnel needed to change the chemistry? If you consider that much of this group has had the influence of three different coaches over the last year and have not been able to play their best hockey something needs to give.
Nov 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin (5) controls the puck in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
With Marco Scandella about to head off of IR the Wild will once again have a logjam at defense that will force Mike Reilly to head back down to Iowa. The emergence of Christian Folin has cemented his spot in the Minnesota lineup, and has further shows that the Wild are flush with defensive talent and can afford to swap one of them off.
Additionally, it’s highly probable that the Wild will lose one of their defenders in the expansion draft. So the Wild could be motivated to make something out of a player that they might lose anyways. The idea here is address a need now with a defenseman who won’t be protected or possibly lose that unprotected player later.
A shake up is needed now. The Wild should be looking to acquire a forward soon if only to change things around a bit. The salary cap is crippling the league as a whole right now, so trades are certainly tougher. But they are possible it just takes a lot of homework and a lot of negotiation. That basically means if the Wild want any forward help this season they will need to start looking now if they want to get anything substantial that would help the team done.
It’s just hard to watch these kinds of loses. The Wild bench boss summed it up best after Saturday’s loss “I need more from a lot of guys. When was the last time any of us had a multi-point game? You can’t win every night in this league 1-nothing, 2-1.” So if the lineup right now can’t seem to get a multi-point game then maybe they need to bring in someone or someones who can.