Wild Bid Farewell to KapFinn
The news today just confirmed what we have known for quite some time, that the only full time captain in Wild history, Mikko Koivu will not be returning. Bill Guerin made that official today.
Koivu has been a warrior, ultra competitor and leader to all that played, coached, and worked with him. His presence will be missed along with his desire and competiveness that were second to none day in and day out.
The message is clear that the Wild have turned the page and it is time for new voices to be heard and relied upon both on and off the ice.
Guerin is making over a roster that had certainly run its course and one that can no longer compete in today's game. The need for speed and skill has been the NHL formula for success. For far too long the Wild have felt that they could compete by hard work and experience. Through multiple coaching staffs they have all gone to battle with essentially the same pieces only the names had changed.
That is no longer the methodology that Bill Guerin is incorporating with the Wild.
So now that it is official that Koivu will not be back and with the trade of Eric Staal on Wednesday it is very clear the team will look and sound different when we next see them.
Many feel the Wild somehow lost the deal with Buffalo with Staal out-producing Marcus Johansson but wait just a minute before annointing the Sabres winners in this trade.
First of all this is a one year deal as both Staal and Johansson are set to be UFAs at season's end. Next many of these same "so-called" experts ripped the Wild for signing Staal to a 3-year deal back in July of 2016. He was coming off his worst season and had been dealt to the Rangers where he had been relegated to 4th line left wing duties.
Not only did Staal resurrect his career in Minnesota, he obviously won over the nay sayers in the process. However you cannot overlook the fact that he at times this season looked and played to his age tiring and lagging behind the play.
Either way Staal was not part of the Wild's long term plan and he would have been either moved at the deadline or played out the season where he would have not been resigned.
Marcus Johansson on the other hand is 29 years old and playing for a new contract. Having much the same opportunity that Staal was presented four years ago to step into a new team with the chance to play top six minutes and powerplay.
Is the goal for Johansson to be here long-term? Not likely but if he clicks who knows. This is a transition deal and to me it is an immediate win for the Wild because it officially turns the page from the Koivu/Staal old guard.
There are more moves coming and the draft is right around the corner. Time for Guerin to hold his cards and play them at the right time.
Matt Dumba on the block?
As far as Guerin moving Dumba, he does not have to do that at all and still keep his top four defenseman even through the expansion draft. That can be accomplished by protecting eight skaters rather than seven forwards and three defenseman. With a look a the Wild forwards under contract for next year, eight skaters makes far better sense.