The Minnesota Wild saw a 2013 season with a lot of promise end in a first round playoff defeat at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, as a handful of injuries ruined any chance they had to stay competitive against the top seed in the Western Conference. As they look ahead to next season, the continually improving play of a young defense corps will be a big part of their efforts to return to the postseason. One player who could see more time on the blue line next season is Marco Scandella, a former second round pick who didn’t get much of a chance with the Wild during the regular season but stepped up in the playoffs.
Scandella is a restricted free agent, but given his performance, youth and the cap situation the Wild find themselves in there’s little reason to believe he won’t be back. The Wild will not have a lot of cap space to work with, and that definitely works in Scandella’s favor as he hopes to see more ice time. The Wild called on him for just six regular season games, and he scored his fourth career goal this season. He spent most of the season with the AHL’s Houston Aeros, where he had two goals and 17 points in 45 games. Scandella isn’t going to put up offensive numbers the way Ryan Suter or Jared Spurgeon did this season, but when the playoffs arrived he did manage a goal and two points in five games. That put him third on the team and showed that he has an ability to step up when needed. The Wild would be wise to consider expanding his role with the team next season.