Gone Wild Mailbag: Hockey is Back Minnesota Wild Fans!

It has been some time since our last Gone Wild Mailbag, so we decided to dust it off and open it up for your questions!  Minnesota Wild Fans wanted to know…

Doesn’t it feel great that hockey is coming back? We’re just under two weeks till the exhibition games start-up and…

Huh?

What’s happening in Edmonton?

Well. That’s not good.

Hey, let’s get into your questions.

If you want to listen to your questions be answered, you can check out Ep. 5 of the HockeyGoneWild Podcast anywhere you get your podcasts, or can just read them right here. We transcribed the answers from the show.

Awesome. Here we go.

GPW Contributor Aaron Heckmann: Spurge or Brodin. The defensive core in general

GPW Site Expert Lake Martin: Yeah, if they’re able to lock down that top six, it’s incredible.

Aaron: Well I mean, the Canucks were fourth in the powerplay to so we have to stay disciplined.

Lake: If either of Devan Dubnyk, Kaapo Kahkonen, or Alex Stalock have a good series… it could be pretty easy.

GPW Contributor Brandon Quast: I would say the GEEK Line if they’re together.

Aaron: A darkhorse candidate is Matt Dumba. He and Marcus Foligno can consistently change the tempo and mood around the team

Adding to the list above, if Jordan Greenway continues to play and utilize his big body as we saw him do towards the end of the regular season, he will be a pain to play against for the Vancouver Canucks. He’s a sneaky choice.

https://twitter.com/KaprizovKlub/status/1282047468423847936

Brandon: Look at it one of two ways: Resign him and probably gets shelved in the American Hockey League again. I think he deserves the opportunity to be an NHL player. He played outstanding in Iowa. His size is what’s holding him back.

Lake: I would be fine giving him a look. The question is, who’s position does he take? A center like Koivu or Galchenyuk or a winger? Doesn’t seem possible right now.

Sam Anas is a tough one. I think with the way he’s performed in Iowa, he probably warrants a look with an NHL roster, but I do not see a spot for him here. So that only leaves letting him walk.

Lake: This is a good question. They’ve struggled to restart. You’d hope they’d be able to get on the horse a bit quicker than recent history

Brandon: I know that all teams in the league, obviously have the “expanded roster.” I think with having some of these expanded roster players,  like Mayhew, Sturm, Sam Anas, Calen Addison, Mennel, Belpedio around in camp will be a reminder that if some of our main roster guys start to underperform, I feel like there’s situations there where we might see one of those guys I just listed off slot into the lineup.

Aaron: I would love to give Addison a game.

Lake: I think the key recently has been, espeically under Dean Evason, the youth are getting more significant and meaningful ice time as compared to previously when the vets would take most of the ice time.

What I said towards the end of the quote is the primary reason why Dean Evason was hired as the Official Head Coach. The young guys were getting more significant and meaningful ice time. Greenway and Fiala are getting top-line minutes. Parise is the winger for Joel Eriksson Ek and Luke Kunin.

The only young player who has been buried is Ryan Donato. He still is stuck on the fourth line inexplicably. Averaging about ten and a half minutes of ice time, he has been able to score fourteen goals and nine assists, the same stat line as insanely overpaid Jeff Skinner by the way.

The issue is that to promote Donato you are demoting Foligno, Galchenyuk, or Zuccarello to the fourth line, which is not exactly the wisest idea. Foligno provides a bit of grit and excellent physical two-way play that neither Galchenyuk nor Zuccarello gives that third line. Galchenyuk centers that third line and is solid. The most important thing for a centerman is their faceoff win percentage. Galchenyuk is 51.1% for about 131 attempts, which is alright. Donato is at 39.2% in 102 attempts, which is bad.

Also is this concerning? The Minnesota Wild player with the highest faceoff win percentage with over 100 attempts is Right Winger Ryan Hartman at 54.6%? Second is an actual center, Mikko Koivu, who in 811 attempts is 53.1%. Mikko and Galchenyuk are the only two centers on the Wild above 50%. Woof.

Apologies for that tangent. I don’t think Donato can take that Center spot from Galchenyuk. And I can not justify putting Zuccarello on the fourth line. His production warrants him a bit more ice time, but the more troubling issue would be putting $6,000,000 a year for the next 4 years on the fourth line.

Also, I think Hockey Fans as a whole get trapped in this mindset that Lines are so inflexible, which just isn’t true. If the Wild need a goal or a jump, don’t be surprised to see Ryan Donato soar up the lines to get an opportunity with Staal and Fiala or Parise and Kunin.

Thanks for submitting the questions into the Mailbag! We’ll try to do this more often because it’s great to interact with you all. We enjoyed it.

Also, hockey is back soon! Let’s hope Rogers Place isn’t underwater by the time it comes back.

Have a great one y’all. Stay Safe, Wear a mask if you can. We want the best for all of you.

Hope to see y’all at the X soon.