Minnesota Wild: 5 Questions That Must be Answered By October

5 Questions Minnesota Wild Must Answers By October

Minnesota Wild Offseason
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild shocked a lot of people last year by knocking off the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs and then taking the Chicago Blackhawks to six games in the second round. The Wild had an eventful offseason, landing one of the biggest free agents out there, Thomas Vanek. The Wild are a team on the rise, but they still have some holes to fill. Here are five questions they must answer by October.

5. Can Jason Zucker Find A Permanent Roster Spot?

Jason Zucker Minnesota Wild
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

5. Can Jason Zucker Find A Permanent Roster Spot?

Jason Zucker Minnesota Wild
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Zucker is a speedy winger, but he has had trouble find a consistent role with the Wild. This season could be his last chance to woo the coaches into giving him a permanent spot in the lineup. With the Wild sporting so many other young kids, Zucker must make a gigantic leap, or else he will be a fringe player once again.

4. Who Plays On The Third Defense Pair?

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
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4. Who Plays On The Third Defense Pair?

Matt Dumba Minnesota Wild
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild's top four defenseman are basically set, with Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella seeing those minutes. The third defense pairing, however, is not as clear. The Wild have a mix of veterans, like Keith Ballard and Justin Falk, but they also have some young talent, like Matt Dumba and Christian Folin, eager to get minutes. Coach Mike Yeo must decide who gets those important minutes.

3. Do The Kids Get Bigger Roles

Nino Niederreiter Minnesota Wild
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3. Do The Kids Get Bigger Roles?

Nino Niederreiter Minnesota Wild
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The Wild bolster a bunch of big names on offense like Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Vanek and Mikko Koivu, but their young kids played big-time minutes last postseason. Mikael Granlund had a breakout season, Nino Niederreiter scored some clutch goals and Charlie Coyle played a solid two-way game. In order for the Wild to get better, they need their kids to take the next step and get bigger roles.

2. Who Does Thomas Vanek Play With?

Thomas Vanek Montreal Canadiens
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2. Who Does Thomas Vanek Play With?

Thomas Vanek Montreal Canadiens
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Vanek was the big splash for the Wild this offseason, giving them another offensive threat. The big question is to who Vanek will play with. He has been at his best when he is paired with a great playmaker, so you could see him and Granlund as a potential mix. Vanek will definitely playing top six minutes, but Yeo has to find the right fit for him.

1. Who Starts In Goal?

Darcy Kuemper Minnesota Wild
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1. Who Starts In Goal?

Darcy Kuemper Minnesota Wild
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If it had not been for the Wild's shaky goaltending situation, you could make the case they could have upset the Blackhawks. The Wild started four goalies, Darcy Kuemper, Josh Harding, Ilya Bryzgalov and Niklas Backstrom, for extended periods of time at different points last season. Yeo has stated that the goalie job is wide open, but he needs to find a consistent starter to get his team to the next level.

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