The Wild finished dead last in the NHL in goals last season, which was attributed to injuries, talent deficiencies and growing pains in a new system under first-year coach Mike Yeo. Scoring, we were told, would not be an issue this season, though. Not after the team spent $196 million to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, unveiled Finnish rookie Mikael Granlund and welcomed back Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Everyone associated with team raved about its offensive firepower and overall depth. In fact, a young, inexperienced blue line represented the only real concern as the Wild prepared for a season unlike any other in its existence. But as the season nears its quarter pole -- wait, didn't the season just start? -- the Wild offense looks a lot like the one from last season. Not much there. Only one NHL team has scored fewer goals than the Wild's 21. To put that in further context, the Tampa Bay Lightning has scored twice as many goals -- 42 -- in the same number of games. The Wild's goal-scoring average (2.10) is only slighter better than last season's output (2.02), and that trumps every other factor that has contributed to the team's unsatisfactory start. Yes, the defensive corps lacks consistency and the goaltenders look lost, but the Wild can't survive scoring two goals a game. This collection should be better than that.
Goals not supposed to be a Wild issue, but are issue No. 1
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Feb 9