By PowerPlayCJ @powerplaywithcj on October 7, 2014
The Minnesota Wild made some improvements this offseason in the hopes of getting over the hump in contending in a tougher than ever Western Conference. An intriguing mix of young and veterans will make this a fun team to watch throughout the 2014-15 season.
The power forward from Massachusetts is as skilled as he is big and that will show this year as he breaks out with 25 goals for the Wild. It won’t come at a better time either as the 22-year old will be a restricted free agent at year’s end and looking to cash in.
The 21-year old has shown flashes since cracking the roster as a teenager and this will be the year that he really breaks out. Expect him to cut in to Ryan Suter’s ice time which will surely benefit the Wild as Suter will be fresher for the playoffs than he has been in recent years. Brodin’s improvements will also benefit his paycheck as he too is a restricted free agent at year’s end.
Vanek may be Austrian by birth but he has been tied to the Land of 10,000 Lakes since he suited up for the University of Minnesota over a decade ago. The former 40-goal scorer in Buffalo looked lost with the Habs and definitely hurt his marketability on the free agent market. Look for a major bounce back season for the former Golden Gopher.
Niklas Backstrom isn’t getting any younger and Josh Harding’s suspension has him away from the team indefinitely. Last year’s rookie sensation will come on strong and help carry this team into the playoffs with stellar play down the stretch.
For the third year in a row, the Wild will meet the Hawks in the playoffs, and this time around, the team from Minnesota will emerge victorious. The years of coming up short against Chicago will be the strength that motivates the Wild and have them ready to vanquish their hated Western Conference foe this season.
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