Ten Wild NHL Years: The Minnesota Wild All-Decade Team

Henry DorganContributor IFebruary 23, 2011

Ten Wild NHL Years: The Minnesota Wild All-Decade Team

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    Tim Smith/Getty Images

    The Minnesota Wild have been a fun team to watch these past ten years. They don't score a ton of goals; they don't have any big-name flashy players.

    They just get the job done. 

    The Wild could've been the Blue Ox, the Freeze, the Northern Lights, the Voyageurs, or the White Bears, but although those names weren't bad, they didn't seem right.

    So why does the Wild seem like a perfect fit for a name? Well, it describes the way Minnesotans feel about their hockey team being back. 

    Although the Wild aren't the best team in the league, they've pleased their fans (or, at least, me).

    This slideshow recognizes those players who made it possible.

Left Wing: Brian Rolston (2005-2008) & Andrew Brunette (2001-2004, 2008-present)

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    Did you just see that? Well, if you didn't, it was a Brian Rolston slap shot (cheesy, but effective).

    Rolston could blast the puck and had a slap shot that made the best goalies lose sleep. In 241 games he scored 202 points, which is pretty darn good for only playing three seasons with the Wild.

    He will be remembered for his blazing slap shot and how he led Minnesota to their first Northwest Division title in '07-'08.

    I don't have a creative way to open up Brunette's piece, but honestly, he isn't really a creative player. He gets the job done, and that's just what the Wild need.

    He has 303 points while wearing the green and red, and is currently second on the Wild's all-time points list.

    His leadership is also what he's needed for, as he has served as team captain.

Center: Mikko Koivu (2001-present)

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Koivu is a great player, and could be considered the Wild's franchise player.

    He is third on the Wild's all-time points list, which is a good resume already. He has 93 goals and 205 assists in six seasons. Plus, he's still under 30. 

    When people say Koivu, most people will mean Saku Koivu, Mikko's older brother who is a former Montreal Canadiens captain and a cancer survivor.

    But Mikko is becoming a rising star in the NHL in his own right, and I wouldn't be surprised if people's answers change to Mikko in the next couple of years.

    He's done a lot for this franchise, and if he keeps it up his name and number nine should be up in the rafters when he hangs up the skates.

Right Wing: Marián Gáborík (2000-2009)

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    This was the easiest pick of all.

    Gaborik, the Wild's first draft pick ever, was the face of the franchise and it's a shame he left.

    He was to the Wild what Joe Mauer is to the Twins. If you go to a Wild game, you'll still see at least five Gaborik jerseys. 

    He has the most goals, assists, and points of any player to wear a Wild jersey with 219, 218 and 537, respectively. If he continues playing well in New York and wherever else his career takes him, I believe he will someday grace the halls of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

    He made a lasting impression on this organization, and his name will be in the rafters when he's done (same as Koivu, in my opinion).

Defense: Filip Kuba (2000-2006)

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    David Sherman/Getty Images

    This may come as a shock to some Wild fans, but Kuba was the second best defenseman (statistically) the Wild have ever had.

    He put up 132 points as a Wild defenseman, which ranks ninth on the Wild's all-time points list. It seems that Kuba has been put on the back burners of most Wild fans' memories because he played such a long time ago.

    Fans think Nick Schultz should be in this position, but Kuba was much more productive in much less time. 

Defense: Brent Burns (2003-present)

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    John Grieshop/Getty Images

    Brent Burns will be the best defenseman the Wild will have for the rest of his career (nothing is better than opening up with a startling prediction).

    He's got size, speed, and a heck of a shot. All of these things intertwined when he was elected to represent the Wild (along with Martin Havlat) at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game.

    With 168 points, Burns is currently sitting at seventh place on the Wild's all-time point rankings, and he's only 25 years old.

    He has so much potential it's nuts!

    Burns has been on the team since he was 18, and the Wild have loved having him on their team and will cherish him in the future. If they don't, he could be a big free-agent name when his contract runs out.

Goalie: Niklas Bäckström (2006-present)

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Another no-brainer here. Bäckström has been a staple on the Wild's roster since 2006. When he's between the pipes, he's like the Great Wall of China; little to nothing gets by him.

    His career save percentage is .918, with a goals-against average of 2.37. That's lower than most underachieving high-schoolers' grade point averages!

    He's played all of his years in the NHL with the Wild, and he has won the William M. Jennings Trophy, which is given to "the goalkeeper(s) having played a minimum of 25 games for the team with the fewest goals scored against it."

    Although he split it with Manny Fernandez, I bet that won't be the only trophy Bäckström adds to his case before his career is over.