Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Post-Season and Player/Position Thoughts (Koivu Must Go?)

May 15, 2014, 10:34 AM ET [124 Comments]
Brad Ratgen
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
First and foremost, congratulations to the Minnesota Wild (players, coaches, management, front office, etc.) on a great season and playoff run. Not many of us expected this, especially given all of the ups and downs during the regular season. I think alot of fans were hoping that next year would deliver what we experienced this year in terms of post-season success. Having been a fan from Day 1, this was the second best season experience I have been witness to.

Secondly, I want to thank Tony Dean for joining me as my hockeybuzz.com blogging partner. Thanks to Ek and Eric for making this happen too. I don't have as much time to share my thoughts and feelings regarding the Wild as I used to so having Tony pull a majority of the blogging weight was helpful to me and, as the Wild rise in popularity among hockey fans in general, the Wild and their fan base will be well represented on hockeybuzz.com.

Third, congrats to the Blackhawks team and their fans. Good luck the rest of the way. What a powerhouse and dynasty in the making. We had them on the ropes and this may have been our best chance to take them down as teams will no longer take the Wild for granted in the playoffs.

While losing in the second round sucks, it could be worse. We could be Bruins fans today having been the best team during the regular season and taken out by their chief rival in the second round. Ouch!

Regarding how the Wild lost in Game 6, it was very disappointing given the fluky bounce. However, remember that Coyle got a bounce like that against the Avs and buried it also. However, the Wild had many chances in Game 6 to win that game and failed to beat Crawford, who was superb in the second period of Game 6, pointing out two areas of need for the Wild in the off season: Goaltending and Goal Scorers.

As goaltending is concerned, the Wild were very fortunate to have done as well as they did given the massive turnover we saw at that position this season. Bryz was solid, but also inconsistent. I would like to see Backstrom bought out, Harding retire and join the front office and for the Wild to bring in a quality starter to join Kuemper as a 1a and 1b tandem.

Regarding goal scorers, I don't know that Vanek is the answer. Then again, I don't know that he's not either. I'm just not sure going after an aging veteran is wise. I trust that Chuck Fletcher and company will focus on both goal scorers and goaltenders in the draft. Maybe Vanek is the stopgap until the Wild's young drafted goal scorers can develop.

And then the topic of Koivu came up on air waives yesterday. I'm sure I may get alot of flack over this, but my biggest fear is that Mikko is the next Mark Parrish/Dany Heatley. No doubt his surgically repaired ankle injury affected his play in the playoffs. Given that injury, he is not the same player that the Wild invested so much term and money in. As such, I would be in favor of trying to trade him and, if unsuccessful, then to use the other compliance buyout on him. Yes, I understand that he is the team captain, but winning a Stanley Cup is tough business. Building a Cup contender is the same. Koivu has served the Wild well and for that he has been well compensated. But, if the Wild keep him, the risk is that his skating continues to decline ala Dany Heatley and this is the last year the Wild have to use their compliance buyout on another player. If Koivu stays and turns into the next Heatley, what are their options? Buying him out ala Mark Parrish and having his long contract count against the Wild's salary cap. No thanks. Lou Nanne commented on KFAN yesterday that he would offer Koivu and a first round draft pick for Kessler. I, for one, would be in favor of that type of move, no disrespect to Koivu intended. Spezza would be another player to look at as centers are concerned.

On defense, I have no idea. Maybe getting some bigger guys back there. An NHL agent once told me that the Wild would never win a Stanley Cup with Spurgeon playing defense for them. I disagree, but what do I know.

So there you go. Blast away.
Join the Discussion: » 124 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Brad Ratgen
» We've Been Here Before Haven't We?
» Everything Going According to Script. Only Question, Which Script?
» Wild Proves They Can Play With The Best. Now It's Time to Beat the Best.
» Enough About the Refs. We Ain't Dead Yet. Remember 2003!
» Must Win Game For Both the Avs and the Wild?