Few hockey fans have forgotten the huge moves that the Minnesota Wild made during the 2012-2013 off-season and the huge disappointment that followed last season. The Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, two highly prized free agents and boy did they pay these guys. The Wild did not get near the return on their investment for the first year of the Parise/Suter Era. They did manage to make it to the playoffs though even though they were crushed by the Blackhawks.
The good news is that Parise and Suter are still two very good pieces for the Wild to build around. The duo now has another year under their belt in the Wild system and should be able to be much more effective this season. Another big issue for the Wild was that their young stars were just not ready to take the next step. The Wild and I had high expectations from the likes of Mikael Granlund and Charlie Coylie but they just didn't produce. Granlund was highly touted and I even drafted him as a flier in my fantasy league last season but he was a dud. Minnesota needs these guys to contribute during the 2013-2014 campaign. The Wild still have Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville who are both solid players.
Over the off season Minnesota added Matt Cooke and Nino Niederreiter. The latter being a former high draft pick who is only 20. Niederreiter is a former Islander and young right winger will hopefully benefit from the changing scenary as he has not been much of a factor in the NHL. The Wild will start young Jonathon Blum on their top defensive line with Ryan Suter. Blum needs to grow up fast this season and be a factor for the Wild on the number one defensive line.
Goaltending is a bit of a question mark for the Wild. They have a number one with Niklas Backstrom and while he was good last season he was nowhere near great. Their backup, Josh Harding dealt with medical issues last season but he should be able to return to a somewhat normal schedule this season. The good news for the Wild is that they have a ton of depth in their organization between the pipes. Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson are two elite goaltending prospects that will split time in Iowa this season. They also have Stephen Michalek and Alexandre Belanger deeper in their minor league system.
The biggest news for the Wild has to be moving to the Central Division where they will be in a tough division. They have the potential to be the third or fourth best team and should be able to make it to the playoffs but we can't see them going advancing further then they did last season.
Odds to win the Stanley Cup: 40/1