With the exciting news today of a new offer made by the NHL that would preserve an 82-game schedule, hockey fans are buzzing about the prospect of seeing their favorite teams and players returning to the ice.
If this deal is accepted, the season would start November 2nd, and teams would still play 82 games, which would mean a more compacted schedule and more games per week.
With such a configuration, some teams would benefit and some would be hurt. Namely, older teams with more veterans would find it tougher to play such a schedule, while young teams with a lot of depth to their roster would have an easier time playing the extra games and dealing with injuries.
I believe the Minnesota Wild would be primed to adjust to a condensed schedule, with their depth and loaded farm system. Minnesota figures to send out three solid lines this year, and a lot of their minor-leaguers have experience playing at the NHL-level from last year. With last year’s rash of injuries, Mike Yeo had to shake up his line configurations all the time. Kyle Brodziak, who will center the third line this year, saw extended time centering the *first* line late last season. And Pierre-Marc Bouchard might end up outside the top six, and may play on a line with Brodziak this year.
As mentioned, a lot of the Houston Aeros were called up last season, and often for more than just a cup of coffee. Guys like Casey Wellman, Jed Ortmeyer, Brett Bulmer, Jason Zucker, and Nate Prosser all donned the Wild sweater last year, and some of those guys may not get a chance this year thanks to the additions of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Mikael Granlund.
It’s not guaranteed that the NHLPA will accept the NHL’s offer, but if the two sides can finally reach an agreement and the season starts in just a couple weeks, I have to think the Wild will be equipped for the grueling schedule.