The Minnesota Wild are currently in the midst of their annual slump. One that sometimes shows up in December, January, or in this case, February. There isn’t really an explanation for this slump. The Wild have had this slump even with different coaches leading the team.
Why the Wild Will Make the Playoffs
Is Bourdreau on the Hot Seat?
Some folks are saying that Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau is on the hot seat due to the team’s lack of production lately. The Wild have lost six of their last seven games. They have not won a game at home since January 19th. What is the cause of this? Well, if you look at the numbers, the Wild are technically close to where were projected to be at the beginning of the season. They still remain the oldest team in the NHL, and teams like St. Louis and Chicago are now starting to catch up, and in St. Louis’s case, pass the Wild in the race for the wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Rookie GM Paul Fenton has made a few trades this season, but none that can really be considered “team-altering” or “confidence boosting”. So far, Fenton has acquired F Pontus Aberg from Anaheim, F Victor Rask from Carolina, D Brad Hunt from Vegas, and claimed D Anthony Bitetto off waivers from Nashville. So far, these moves have proved to be just average ones.
Trade Deadline Info
These next 11 days before the NHL trade deadline will prove to make or break the Wild’s shot at a seventh consecutive postseason appearance. It seems as though Fenton will pull the trigger on a deal to acquire a forward though, particularly with the Wild captain and arguably best faceoff man Mikko Koivu out for the rest of this season with a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. Since Koivu’s injury on February 5th in Buffalo, the Wild have had F Joel Eriksson Ek at center. Eriksson Ek has done extremely well, recording three points in his last four games. He has averaged 14:59 minutes of ice time over those four games.
Another player who has really stepped up for the Wild lately is forward Luke Kunin. Kunin has seven points in his last five games. This season, Kunin has 12 points in 26 games for the Wild. He had two goals in the Wild’s 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on February 12th.
Over these next 11 days, fans can expect Paul Fenton to make a move before the deadline. It is unclear who Fenton will add to the Wild roster, but they are in need of a right shot defenseman. Of the seven defensemen currently active on the roster, only two of them are right-handed.
A name that has been floating around is New York Rangers centerman, Kevin Hayes. The Wild could use a top-6 center to replace Koivu. It has shown recently how meaningful Koivu is in terms of winning draws on the penalty Kill and just his leadership by example. Hayes would be a good fit for the Wild, but is Fenton willing to cough up what Rangers GM Jeff Gorton is looking for in return?
If the Wild can find a way to acquire a top-6 forward at the trade deadline, They will squeak in and make the playoffs for the seventh season in a row.
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