The time has come, folks. It might sound trite to say, but the organization is really at a crossroads. After failing to make the playoffs and losing their general manager this off-season, the Minnesota Wild will soon have to take stock and decide just where they are and where they want to be as a team. For a while, they were a team that, while not a powerhouse in their division, was at least all but guaranteed to be in the mix for a playoff spot. But now, not so much. They took a step back last season, but how far away are they from getting back to that guaranteed playoff spot? And have they reached the point where they consider it time to bottom out and embark on a full rebuild?
Let’s start by looking at the state of the present NHL roster. This isn’t an exact representation of what the lines will end up being, because the folks over at the Daily Faceoff don’t make the lines, but it’s a good enough approximation, for the sake of looking at roster strength.
What these graphics tell us is that while there is certainly some talent on this team — particularly on the first forward line and the top two defense pairs — there isn’t a whole lot in the way of depth. They’re a little top-heavy, in terms of the talent distribution. Additionally, as we see from the rankings on the far right column, relative to other comparable lines and pairings across the league, the Wild are decidedly below average. For example, while they do have a strong first line, it’s still only the 25th best first line in the league (according to the player rankings from Corsica, which are used to compile the ratings for these graphics).
The Wild do, however, figure to have an above-average fourth line, relative to other fourth lines around the league.