The Central division of the NHL is gearing up for a six team, season long frenzy for the top spot. Nearly the entire division has a realistic chance at clinching this branch of the wild west. Nearly. The Minnesota Wild find themselves in one of the most precarious positions in the league.
First Key Game: 10/3/19: MIN @ NSH
Odds to win the division
50:1 (7th overall) (via Betway)
Is this a bet worth taking?
When it comes to betting, there is no such thing as a sure thing, unless we’re talking Minnesota taking dead last in the Central Division. The way the current roster looks, as well as the front office, 50:1 actually seems pretty generous. With previous season injuries that will most likely play a role in the upcoming season’s early stages, along with key exits in the forwards and some poorly aging contracts of poorly aging players, the immediate future of this team looks rather bleak. In short, this is absolutely a bet worth taking. The state of hockey in the hockey state isn’t looking too good, and you can bet on that.
Keys To The Season
Story to watch
The big story leading into the season will be the team’s instability and uncertainty. The aforementioned injuries are unfortunately taking their toll on key players like Matt Dumba and Mikko Koivu. Season ending potential career altering injuries sidelined them in the 2018-19 season, and their returns will be a piece to watch on its own.
Another big headline in Minnesota coming into the 2019-2020 season is the vacancy of the Wild’s General Manager position. The departure of Paul Fenton has left a large hole in the Wild’s front office. With under two months until the start of the season, the talk of the team will undoubtedly be the empty seat in the GM’s chair.
Player to watch
Donato and Fiala will be playing their first full year in Minneapolis, and Zuccarello is a big draw coming in but these aren’t who to watch this year. No hot shot youngsters or momentum wave riders are front and center here. Matt Dumba and MIkko Koivu will be the players to watch this year for the aching and aging Minnesota, as pivotal pieces of the teams core coming back from a ruptured pectoral muscle and torn ACL respectively.
The all-star defenseman in Dumba and team captain in Koivu, missed a combined 83 games last season, with Dumba missing over half of last season and Koivu missing just under half. These two veterans will ultimately be the determining fate of this team on the verge of a harsh rebuild.
While they could tie up some loose end in their bottom six or supporting cast in defense, Minnesota’s biggest need actually isn’t a position on the ice, or even a position at all. This team’s biggest need is direction. Through Paul Fenton’s stint, there seems to be a lack of direction.
But with Fenton out the door and Guerin in, there may be some solace. The former Assistant GM to the Pittsburgh Penguins is a guy who knows how to put the right pieces in the right places. In a wild division, the Wild will need direction, and Guerin may be the man to provide it.
If the Wild were an animal, what would they be?
The Minnesota Wild more closely resemble an abandoned baby deer this year than the bear that makes up their logo. Caught out in the open without their care taker, they were vulnerable to be torn apart by Predators, or preyed on by Coyotes.
Such was the way of Bambi, this baby deer must seek refuge in the mentorship of an older, wiser leader to guide them and rebuild them to become stronger. The successful player & manager in Guerin may be the embodiment of this wise deer. but only time will tell as this baby deer begins to grow.