Minnesota Wild: Best in the NHL but how?
The Minnesota Wild are 20-7-3 winning their last 7 games and the first NHL team to hit 20 wins this season. They lead the NHL and their conference by 3 points over the Chicago Blackhawks and the Northwest Division by 6 points over Vancouver
Admit it when you look at the standings right now you wouldn't have though Minnesota would have the best record right now would you? Or even in the playoffs to begin this season.
Even I will admit that so with that and with me having a subscription to NHL Gamecenter I have the luxury of watching anything I want so I wanted to have the opportunity to watch their last few games this week all wins over San Jose, Phoenix and Los Angeles and people are wondering how are they doing it? A team that has 1 player in the top 30 in scoring(Mikko Koivu)
So how you ask well this is a team that is playing great defensively and is getting great goaltending from Nicklas Backtrom and Josh Harding both goalies have identical numbers this season and even Mike Hackett, who on Tuesday, December 6 had to come in emergency to replace Josh Harding 11 seconds in their 2-1 win over San Jose and would go on to win his first start 2 days later making 42 saves in a 4-2 win over Los Angeles. Their 64 goals allowed is the 4th lowest allowin the NHL with only Detroit(62), St.Louis(62) and New York Rangers(60) allowing less
Along with that while they aren't scoring much they aren't relying on 1 player or 1 line for the offense. They have one 10 goal scorer an unlikely one at that in Kyle Brodziak. A guy they acquired in a trade with Edmonton in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft who's career high in goals was 16 which was last season its pretty safe to say he should surpass that.
Off-season moves like trading Brent Burns and Martin Havlat to San Jose for Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in 2 different trades are both having their impact well, Heatley is 2nd in the team in points with 20 and Setoguchi not as much with 13 giving the team along with Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard a good couple lines that can produce.
What makes this even more amazing is the amount of players the Wild have had injured this season both goalies Backstrom and Harding have been hurt at times this season, Setoguchi just recently got hurt and they have Marek Zidlicky, Gulliame Latendress and Cal Clutterbuck all hurt as well, all 6 players missed their 4-1 win over Phoenix on Saturday.
It speaks of the great job rookie head coach Mike Yeo is doing, the former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach has done a great job despite all the injuries The Minnesota Wild have had 32 players put on a jersey this season thus far and have played 9 rookies and is easily for me the leading candidate for coach of the year should the Wild continue to win and play this way.
With timely offense, good defense and solid goaltending are enjoying huge success this season at the moment and if they haven't gotten your attention yet this season they should by now.
I'm interested to see if they continue to keep this up. I think they will
Feedback is encouraged
Follow me on twitter @DArm91