yankee hockey

WESTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS 08-09

Posted in Minnesota, predictions by amanoidopera on October 7, 2008

12. Minnesota Wild:

The team most known for its inability to score will live up to its reputation again this year. With significant losses up front and no one to replace them, don’t expect this team to score more then 200 goals. In a place like the Northwest that is likely going to send three teams to the playoffs, the Wild just won’t be able to compete. This may be Lemaire’s swan song in Minny, he’s had the benefit of the doubt as long as he made it to the post-season, but a losing season will finally prove that his style just won’t cut it in the NHL.

The Forwards:

Yes, Marian Gaborik has the potential to be the best forward in the West, but what else do they have? They lost Demitra, they lost Rolston, Andrew Brunette just isn’t going to be enough to replace them. Owen Nolan hasn’t had a good point production season since he left San Jose. Mikko Koivu is the only player other then Gaborik I see getting more then 20 goals, and that’s assuming Gaborik both stays healthy and stays with the team. If either of those two things change the Wild will lose roughly 20% of their goal scoring… ouch.

The Defense:

Marc-Andre Bergeron was a good pick up for the blueline, but when the best offensive weapon you get in the off season is a defenseman… you gotta wonder what this organization is thinking. The rest of the defense is powerful, and with Lemaire behind the bench you know they’ll be responsible, but it’s just not exciting enough. This team really needs a Niedermayer or Chara if they want to win by defense alone. Not this year Minny, not this year.

The Goaltending:

Backstrom is good, especially in overtime. But can he be good in all the games they’ll be needing him to play (60+)? Remember, this is a team that will be on the losing end of a lot of 1-0 games. Like the other teams that want to try to win by keeping the puck out of their net, rather then put the puck into the other net, they just don’t have a goaltender who can really carry the team. Backstrom is going to have a great numbers season, except in the wins/losses column. Is there any other team out there who’s goaltender’s GAA will be less then 2.5, and who’s win/loss be less then .500?

The Fans:

Sorry Canada, but the best hockey fans in the world are in Minnesota. Maybe it’s something in the air, or in the many thousands of lakes in the state, but this place lives for hockey. That they lost the North Stars is sacrilegious, that it took them so long to get another professional team is even worse. They’d love this team if it went 0-82. They’d love this team if it was full of ECHL players. They’d love this team if it was full of Disney on Ice rejects. They just love hockey, and I love them for it.

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