As we approach the start of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, Too Many Men On The Site will be taking a look at each of the teams that have qualified. Included will be stats, record, and why they will and will not win the Stanley Cup. Next up are the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota Wild – Wild Card 1 Central Division – 96 points (As of this posting)
- Jason Pominville (29 G, 28 A, 57 points)
- Zach Parise (28 G, 27 A, 55 points)
- Mikko Koivu (11G, 42 A, 53 points)
Why They Will Win The Stanley Cup:
I think we can all agree that the Minnesota Wild are a long shot to win the cup (a 0.614% long shot according to Sports Club Stats) but hey, anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With players like Pominville, Parise, and Suter, the Wild have the star power and depth to succeed in the playoffs. With the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov, Minnesota has seemingly shored up a weakness in the crease due to mounting injuries. Since joining the Wild at the trade deadline, Bryzgalov has posted .923 SV% and a 1.78 GAA, a major accomplishment considering where he was at the start of this season.
The Wild seem like the type of team that could be overlooked in the first round and stun their opponent with an upset. Crazier things have happened in the playoffs.
Why They Will Not Win The Stanley Cup:
If the playoffs started today, the Wild would be matched up with the Anaheim Ducks. The season series went 1-1-1 in favor of the Ducks. Out of the gate the Wild will have to go up against one of the best teams in the best conferences in the NHL. This is a tall order for a Wild Card team.
Minnesota is averaging the 5th fewest goals per game (2.40) and have the 4th worst PK unit (79.3%). They main culprit for the 2.40 goal per game average could be that they are generating the third fewest shots per game (26.7), ahead of only New Jersey and Buffalo.
The injury issues in the crease could also create some uncertainty as to how the Wild will perform in the playoffs. Bryzgalov has been successful so far, but it is hard to believe that that level of play will continue. Darcy Kuemper is currently injured, and his inexperience in the post season could be an issue.