Lockout Patience Will Pay Off For Wild

I just want my hockey.

We all just want our hockey.

It’s incredibly frustrating to see that, for the second time in eight years, we have to put up with this bullshit. The NHL is abusing the players and abusing the fans by exploiting every loophole to spend as much money as possible on contracts, only to cry poor and take that money away from the players, and hockey away from us. Fuck Gary Bettman. He’s the worst. If he spends eternity having his liver eaten daily by an eagle that constantly sings Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”, I will consider it a light punishment. At least Prometheus did something to benefit the Greek version of the 99%, while Bettman puts the manic, irrational whims of the gods above any benefit the hockey community might receive.

But, alas, wiser, better people than I have said “Fuck Gary Bettman, I’d like to put him in a giant paper shredder.” better than I. This isn’t really about that. This is about enduring. Patience. Concerning our prospect development, this lockout might end up being a blessing in disguise.

So, make the jump, fans, and endure.

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Wild Defense Needs More “Bacon”

One of the hallmarks of Doug Risebrough’s not-so-illustrious tenure as GM of the Minnesota Wild was bring first round prospects directly to the NHL, with diminishing returns as this process went on. Things worked out well early with Marian Gaborik making an impact right away, and Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Brent Burns managing to develop at the NHL level. However, most Minnesota Wild fans are understandably cautious about this process due to the spectacular failure of James Sheppard, and the disappointment of watching the already-limited Colton Gilles having his development completely stunted on the bench.

In fact, perhaps the biggest difference between DR and Chuck Fletcher’s philosophies rests in how they progress their prospects to the NHL. In the three years since Chuck Fletcher became GM, only one of the players drafted have played in more than 9 NHL games. And with 12 games to his name, Matt Hackett is hardly a seasoned veteran. Fletcher has committed to a patient approach to prospect development.

But you knew that.

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Wild Catch ‘Em All

I fully didn’t expect any major signings in the NHL (Parise and Suter), so I had no problem sleeping in, and had no problem meandering my way to Twitter.

So imagine my surprise when I logged on to Twitter to find the Wild had signed Suter, and Pittsburgh and Detroit were out of the running.

I wanted to get this out even Suter sooner, but I’ve had to calm down my own giddiness. I’m seriously giggling for no reason and jumping around like I was asked by the quarterback to the prom (but a nice, cute, humble one, not a GHB-weilding douchebag). I have a very heavy Wild coat that I’m considering wearing, even though it’s 72 degrees outside. This is a very, very big deal.

Oh, yes, the Wild are here. And they’ll be relevant for a while.

I think the biggest cause for celebration was most eloquently stated by Chris Long of KSTP: “It took a while, and an incredible amount of work by Chuck Fletcher, but (the Minnesota Wild)  are finally out of the hole Doug Risebrough dug them into.”

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Signings and Short Lists

The Wild have made no secret for months that they are trying to make a splash in free agency, attempting to woo Zach Parise and/or Ryan Suter. Seeing as each would appear to be a coup on their own, naturally Wild fans have been waiting with anticipation for July 1st to happen for months now.

So, when the Wild announced they signed two free agents, Zenon Konopka and Torry Mitchell, it was a bit of a surprise. Not that it’s out of the realm of possibility that a team might sign a role player or two on the first day of free agency, and not only because fans were looking for the big ticket item, but because it wasn’t so obvious how much uncertainty there was in the bottom 6 for next year. I guess the holes that could only be filled by Parise were what I was focusing on.

So, what do these guys bring to the rink?

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Gui Is Gone

In 2005, the Minnesota Wild selected with the 4th overall pick Benoit Pouliot from the Sudbury Wolves.

Things did not work out.

In 2009, Chuck Fletcher traded the underachieving Pouliot away for Guillaume Latendresse, who electrified Wild fans by scoring a goal about every other game. It was dubbed by Wild fans to be the Best Trade Ever.

Two years later, we’re waving goodbye, and it didn’t appear to be the Best Trade Ever after all.

More Gui Retrospective-ing after the jump.

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Draft Day 2: This Time It’s Not Draft Day 1

With the 128th pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, the Minnesota Wild select…

(I would like to take a moment to thank Dan Chan of Hockey Wilderness for providing the most comprehensive information on the later round prospects I was able to find. I would not even be able to hope to write this article without him, especially because Louie Nanne stole the spotlight from the Strib. If you’re reading this and not his work, then shoot yourself. Or read his work. Whichever you find more palatable.)

After PWNing the world by taking Mathew “Matt Dumba the Awesome Hockey Player” Dumba, the Wild had six more picks to use to add talent to what is perhaps currently the best farm system in the NHL. Today the Wild weren’t exactly movers and shakers, staying pat for all six picks. Let’s take a quick look at Day 2 of the Wild’s draft: Continue reading