- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Canucks return eight defensemen who saw playoff action last spring and Roberto Luongo, the mercurial goaltender who is by turns brilliant and self-destructive, sometimes both on the same shift. The Canucks are good enough to win the Northwest without worrying about Luongo. But come springtime, they'll need him to conquer his tendency to allow untimely soft goals. If Luongo holds up, Vancouverites could well take to the streets in celebration next June.
COACH Mike Yeo (1st season)
LAST SEASON 39-35-8 (12th in West)
KEY ADDITIONS LW Dany Heatley, C Darroll Powe, RW Devin Setoguchi
KEY LOSSES D Brent Burns, LW Andrew Brunette, RW Martin Havlat
THE OFF-SEASON acquisition of Dany Heatley (26 goals and 38 assists last season) from the Sharks gives the Wild something the 11-year-old franchise has rarely had: a sniper. The 30-year-old Heatley, who is entering his 10th NHL season, has six seasons of at least 39 goals and has twice scored 50, something no Wild player has ever accomplished. Minnesota sent its leading goal scorer from last season, Martin Havlat (22 goals), and top defenseman Brent Burns to San Jose to get Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, who has 73 goals over his last three seasons. "It's a new look," says Mikko Koivu (below), who will most likely center the top line, with Heatley and Setoguchi on the wings. "We will be a different team."
Rookie coach Mike Yeo can only hope. The defensive-minded Wild has never finished in the league's top half in goal scoring: Last season it let loose with the fewest shots per game (26.2) and put just 203 in the net, the second-lowest total in the Western Conference. Minnesota still doesn't have enough balance to make the playoffs, but now it does have enough firepower to make things interesting.