The Minnesota Wild find themselves in a really tough spot. They need to play the game at a much quicker pace but don’t necessarily have the team, nor the cap space to make it happen.
In both their games so far this season, it’s been quite clear that half the reason the Minnesota Wild are being dominated is the pace at which their rivals work.
The Colorado Avalanche, despite their youth being flagged as a reason they’d fail this year, showed that youthful pace and exuberance is key to success these days.
The boat-anchor contracts, though, that hang heavy around the neck of the Minnesota Wild limit their options. You can’t move on from Ryan Suter or Zach Parise and neither player is going to get quicker as they age.
Factor in the lack of cap space available to the team after the new pre-season contracts they handed out to Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba and it’s really hard to fathom where or how you speed them up.
The ideal scenario, of course, would be that a draft picks develops to the point of being NHL-ready. New signing Will Bitten projects to be a speedy little play-maker; maybe he’s the key.
Luke Kunin, who is soon to return properly to the ice, could offer at least the youthful exuberance. Nobody is quite sure what a repaired ACL will do for his ability to play at speed.
Without being able to tear down the house and re-build it, the Minnesota Wild are going to have to be very clever.
They’re in need of building speed into the line-up without knocking out the blocks that are the veteran contracts, who don’t necessarily match the pace of the youngsters.
The combination of the two – veterans and young pace, if it were to pay off, sounds great. But it all depends on how the last few years’ draft picks pan out and whether they’re fast and clever and not just one or the other.