The Minnesota Wild held a 3-2 lead over the Carolina Hurricanes going into the third period at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
It was not enough, as the Hurricanes scored three third-period goals to surge past the floundering Wild, who have lost eight of their last nine games.
While it is certainly difficult for Wild fans to watch the team give up a lead in the third period and lose to the 14th place team in the Eastern Conference, there is certainly some good that will come from this loss.
Given that the Montreal Canadiens and New York Islanders play later today, the loss has dropped the Wild into the fourth-worst record in the NHL. If the game between the Islanders and Canadiens goes into overtime with the Islanders managing to win in overtime, the Wild would then have the third-worst record in the NHL.
Since the Wild led the NHL until the middle of December, this is certainly a tough pill for the Wild to swallow. However, given the Wild's need for top-six forwards, the down spiral should work out in their favor.
Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko are considered by most to be two of the first three players that will come off the board in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Both are very skilled forwards who can do something that this current Wild roster can't seem to do consistently—score.
Grigorenko is being compared to another extremely talented Russian center, Evgeni Malkin. Grigorenko is projected as a top-line center or right wing, with both the ability to score goals and be a playmaker. He is exactly the type of player that a team can build its franchise around.
Nail Yakupov is a high-scoring, smooth-skating right wing who has the potential to be a league-leading goal scorer. Many have called the young Yakupov a smaller version of Alexander Ovechkin.
If the Minnesota Wild want to have any chance of turning their franchise into a top-tier competitor in the NHL, they should hope they continue to lose this season and have the chance to draft one of those two big-time players.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!