- By Alex ThomasWell yesterday we talked about three forwards that would make quality trade targets for the Oilers this summer. Today, we will take a look at three
- By Alex ThomasIt’s May 18th, we’re about seven weeks from the start of the draft, free agency, and the 2013 summer transaction period. With a lowered salary cap
- By Kyle PalazziIn the late morning of July 24, 2013, upon the announcement of the acquisition of star winger Rick Nash, Rangers fans salivated at the possibilities.
- By Alex ThomasI know yesterday in my article I told you I would be back here talking about trade targets for the Oilers. We still have almost seven
- By Alex ThomasToday concludes our look at possible free agent targets for the Oilers this off-season. We’ve taken a look at top six forwards, bottom six forwards, top
MN WILD GAMEDAY WILD vs CANUCKS in St.Paul 02/07/2013 By:@AWKD
Minnesota Wild (4-4-1: 9 points, T-10th in Western Conference, 3rd in Northwest Division) vs. Vancouver Canucks (5-2-2: 12 points, 3rd in Western Conference, 1st in Northwest Division) this evening at the Excel Energy Center. The Wild left for road games against Anaheim and Phoenix after defeating the Blackhawks in a shootout no less with energy and positivity and they return from the road with doubts and hopefully a sense of urgency. I really feel like whom better to play a statement game against than the hated Canucks. In the wake of the debacle in Anaheim, the Wild showed better effort and energy in Phoenix but only scored one goal and lost again. General Manager Chuck Fletcher shipped out two underperforming players in Darroll Powe and Nick Palmieri to the New York Rangers for Mike Rupp. Also the Wild called up prized prospect Charlie Coyle to make his NHL debut in Phoenix. Coach Mike Yeo decided Mikael Granlund and Devin Setogucci needed to be delivered a message and moving them to the 4th line seemed to incite aggressive play out of both making the fourth line arguably the best for the Wild against the Coyotes. Tonight will mark the debut of Mike Rupp in a Wild sweater which I am interested to see exactly what he brings. The trade for Rupp was a lot about getting rid of Powe and Palmieri to be honest and Rupp will find himself as a healthy scratch multiple times this season but I think his presence will be a tool for Coach Yeo. Tonight will be Matt Kassian’s 10th healthy scratch and the next roster move involving a forward will be for him to be put on waivers unless a trade is somehow worked out.
The Canucks come into town with a set of red haired twins on the top line with a moose. Daniel and Henrik Sedin are playing with Zach Kassian a 6’3″ 214LB surprisingly skilled and he has been scoring goals so far. Kassian was acquired in a deadline trade last year along with Marc-Andre Gragnani for Cody Hodgson and Alexander Sulzer. At the time of the trade I think there was a lot of apprehension in regards to exactly what type of player and talent ceiling he had especially to give up NHL ready center man prospect Hodgson. In a small sample size after the trade last season Kassian showed he brought the size they needed but was asked to improve his conditioning in the offseason. Kassian proved he was capable of the commitment and was rewarded with a spot on the Sedin line. Alex Burrows the player unseated as a Sedin line mate has played on the line as recently as last game so it will be something to keep an eye out for. Former Gopher Jordan Schroeder is making his hometown debut after disappearing from the spotlight playing for Vancouver’s AHL affiliates. Schroeder dropped in the 2009 draft after concerns of his slight stature 5’9″ 170LBs and play during world junior classic created doubt whether he would be able to compete at a high level in the NHL. When the Canucks were on the clock at 22 they did the unforgivable and made a MN kid a hated Canuck. With the trade of Hodgson it has opened up a spot in the middle. While I really root for Schroeder and always have tonight I will be looking for Cal Clutterbuck to blow him up. The elephant in the room for Vancouver has been the trade availability of Roberto Louongo who last season was in full meltdown mode but seems to have exercised the demons. Louongo has played very well forcing the hand of their Coach Alain Vigneault. General Manager Mike Gillis is in a very tough spot because in a short sprint of a season having a lights out net minder could mean the difference between making the playoffs or not. Cory Schnieder the heir apparent struggled out of the gate this season and Louongo has held a strangle hold on the job. If GM Gillis doesn’t get acceptable value in return for Louongo he will be savaged but if he doesn’t clear the situation up it could get nasty. The eyes of the entire NHL world are on GM Gillis and he has been very fortunate that Louongo has been such a gentlemen and professional considering the team has clearly stated their intentions to move forward with Schnieder as their backstop of the present and future.
For the Wild to be victorious tonight they will be required to actual spend time in the offensive zone and generate shots. Coach Yeo has moved Coyle to the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu which anyone that reads my stuff knows I have been on my soap box calling for a top line shake up. The second line tonight will be comprised of Dany Heatly, Matt Cullen, and Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Wild fans clamoring for Jason Zucker or wondering what will be made of Granlund’s rookie season should know that until GM Fletcher has evaluated and decided on the futures of Cullen and Bouchard both in the last year of expensive contracts there will be very little movement. Granlund struggled at Center and was physically dominated because of his stature. I am lost a bit why Setogucci ended up in the doghouse considering Granlund and Cullen both struggled in positions that left them overmatched. I have been severely disappointed in the play of Cullen this season and I don’t think he has received full credit for just how bad he was on the wing. Cullen is no longer a top 6 forward and playing him as the second line center is to the determent to Granlund and the Wild. Cullen is a significant presence in the locker room and is a solid citizen but that doesn’t change he is a year older and a step slower. If the Wild is to change how it is viewed around the league and how it views its self, they need to move on from Cullen. Of course Setogucci is on the fourth line tonight for whatever reason, and Granlund is scratched. I get it Coach Yeo wanted to send a message to Granlund and to Setogucci but what is the end game here unless you move Cullen or Bouchard you don’t have space on the second line.
Just My Thoughts
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