First hole the Wild have is management. After Lemaire quit and Risebrough was fired, the Wild had their work set out for them.
Dan Fletcher as the new GM should prove to be a relatively good idea, and only time will tell on whether Todd Richards will be a good new head coach.
The Wild also have quite a few holes to fill in the team itself, so we’ll start with the obvious: Marian Gaborik. It was no big secret Gabby didn’t want to play in Minnesota anymore, and it was no big secret Dan Fletcher wasn’t going to re-sign him.
With Gaborik running to the New York Rangers, the Wild had a big hole to fill. To be perfectly honest though, I’m sick of Marian also.
After being injured pretty much all season, Gabby was no help to the Wild. Granted, he came back at the end and helped out, but we still didn’t make the playoffs.
Minnesota doesn’t need Marian Gaborik anymore. We were battling all season without him. So, when we upgraded to Martin Havlat, we got a player that could reliably play the majority of the games in the season, while providing a big scoring punch.
Minnesota didn’t entirely fill holes in the NHL draft, but what they did do was gain a lot of home town support. Drafting Nick Leddy in the first round was a gutsy move, but guarantees that even more of Minnesota will be following the Wild now that they have a hometown boy, even if he doesn’t play for the Wild until a few years later.
Greg Zanon wasn’t necessarily a hole, but was an upgrade. What Greg brings to the table isn’t necessarily a scoring touch, but what he is, is a cheaper and more consistent version of Martin Skoula. No more oops moments, now that Zanon is in the lineup.
With the Wild claiming that they probably won’t be going after free agents in this year’s market, what they are doing, is trying to get Saku Koivu into the team. Saku would be a really nice second-line center, with his brother Mikko manning the first line.
There have been rumors of Pierre Marc-Bouchard playing second-line center, but until I see him play it, I won’t believe it. Even still, I’d prefer seeing PMB play wing, rather than taking face-offs. Just sign Saku, and keep PMB on the wing.
If Saku gets signed by the end of free agency, the Wild should be set for the upcoming season. After a narrow miss of the playoffs, the additions that Martin Havlat and Saku Koivu (maybe) on the team should be enough to propel them in.
Watch out for potential trades, but at the same time, be prepared for this current Wild team (with maybe Saku), to enter the regular season.