Barring injury or a serious slump, the Minnesota Wild pretty much have their top line and first defensive pair figured out.
Things become a bit of a mystery after that.
There are four young players—Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund—that have to find a fit with the team. Coyle and Zucker played well last year, but Nino and Granlund have a lot to prove.
Dany Heatley will probably get a second line role, but who will center that line and how much does the 32-year-old former 50-goal scorer have left in the tank?
On the defensive side of things, Minnesota appears bullish on Marco Scandella and Keith Ballard is in his prime, but will they try to give Nate Prosser playing time or do they favor Clayton Stoner?
Finally, there are obvious moves to make on special teams, but there are also a lot of candidates and few spots. Jared Spurgeon is basically a power play specialist and Matt Cooke is a great penalty killer. The question is how to build around guys like that.
The good thing is the Wild have a lot of options, the bad thing is they are relying heavily on young players that will go through peaks and valleys all season long.
This is an early look at how their depth chart will fill out. I tried to put players in their natural position and present options for each line, as change will happen throughout the season.
Forward lines go left to right (LW-C-RW). Power play lines are included.