In a perfect world, there's quite a bit of optimism in the State of Hockey.
The Minnesota Wild organization decided that it was tired of having a team that finished on the outside looking in.
The playoffs, they decided, was not just for other teams. They wanted to join the party.
In early July, they signed prized free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. General manager Chuck Fletcher decided that the Wild were no longer going to be a Western Conference patsy and then went out and did something about it.
There are several other teams that also want to think that when the 2012-13 season gets underway—make that a very big "if" due to labor uncertainties—they have made the right moves to help them climb in the standings.
Here's a look at six teams ready to take a huge step forward.