- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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LAST SEASON 40-33-9 (9th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS RW Martin Havlat, Coach Todd Richards, D Greg Zanon
KEY LOSSES D Marc-André Bergeron, RW Marian Gaborik, D Martin Skoula, Coach Jacques Lemaire
From the Wild's NHL debut in 2000--01 through the end of the '08--09 season the team had three constants: G.M. Doug Risebrough, coach Jacques Lemaire and star forward Marian Gaborik. Now they're all gone. New G.M. Chuck Fletcher and first-year coach Todd Richards have promised to ramp up the approach of a team that lived and died by trying to score early and then trapping opponents into submission. Last year Minnesota took the fewest shots per game (27.5) in the league, had the NHL's second-best penalty kill (87.6%) and won 28 of 30 games it led after two periods. In other words, games were decided early in the land of the not-so-Wild.
A new (read: up-tempo) style will rely largely on scorers on the back end of their careers, such as 37-year-old winger Owen Nolan (below, 25 goals) and 36-year-old winger Andrew Brunette (22). Imported sniper Martin Havlat has plenty of giddyap, but before last season he had a long history of injuries, including three shoulder surgeries. The tempo may increase in Minnesota, but postseason prospects won't improve.
LAST SEASON 32-45-5 (15th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS G Craig Anderson, LW David Koci, D Kyle Quincey, Coach Joe Sacco
KEY LOSSES RW Ian Laperriere, C Joe Sakic, LW Ryan Smyth