Congratulations to the Colorado Avalanche on their impressive 2021-22 NHL season, and Stanley Cup Championship. Special congrats to two former Minnesota Wild players, Darcy Kuemper and Nico Sturm.
Now we are on to the the off-season officially for every team and the anticipation of roster moves to come.
How do the Wild close the large gap between themselves and their Central Division rival, Avalance, who now have hoiseted the Stanley Cup? The Central Division is the toughest division in hockey bar none. Many east coasters will argue this point, but when you look at the fact that 5 of the eight teams in the Central have been to the Stanley Cup Final with three having won it and five Cups altogether in the last 13 seasons.
No other Division comes close to that many different teams representing which speaks of the comeptitve nature of the Central Division year in and year out. That said the Wild have their hands full just qualifying for the playoffs.
They have been able to do that part fairly consistently over the last nine seasons, having only missed the post season one time back in 2019. Once they get to the dance they have had their issues making any kind of run though.
So what does Bill Guerin do to get his team over the hump and make a long playoff run?
He has been strategically building since he arrived in Minnesota, back in August of 2019. Guerin and his staff have assembled a team that can compete with the best during the 82-game season, that is established. But winning in the playoffs is a whole different animal.
Guerin also took out a huge mortgage last Summer and the payments are now due!
We all know the situation the Wild are in, but this team is ready to make some noise.
What is Guerin's master plan?
We are about to find out the next phase of that plan as we head toward the NHL draft and free agency.
Some had thought the plan may include adding an LTIR contract possibly a Shea Weber, but that is not the case as that contract resides with the Vegas Golden Knights now following a deal with Montreal earlier this month. Ben Bishop's contract was sent by Dallas to Buffalo in somewhat of a peculiar deal, so maybe there is something there as the Wild and Sabres have been trade partners many times in the past...
Guerin is a close to the vest guy so not many know exactly what he has up his sleave, but rest assured the plan is in place and this Wild team will be back in full force competing hard for one of the top spots in the Central come April of 2023.