NHL.com provides in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams from November 16 through December. 16. Today, three important questions facing the Minnesota Wild.
1. Who will be their # 1 center?
Marco Rossi, who was selected with the No.9 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, could be the No.1 center for the Wild in the future, but even if he’s on the squad at training camp , it probably won’t center the first row. to start.
At the moment it seems Marcus Johansson will get the first chance at the job after being acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Sabers for Eric Staal September 16. Johansson has played mostly with the wings during his 10 seasons in the NHL, but he played center last season with Buffalo and early in his career with the Washington Capitals.
Other options include Joel Eriksson Ek, Nick Bonino (acquired in a trade with the Nashville Predators on Oct. 7), Nick Bjugstad (acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on September 11) and Victor Rask.
“I think it’s going well,” said general manager Bill Guerin. “I think we’re deeper in that position right now. We have guys who might not be the # 1 crosses in that traditional sense, but I think they’re guys we can put on the ice and they can play against anyone. ”
2. Will Matt Dumba be traded before the end of the season?
The Wild plan to start the season with Dumba as part of an enviable top-four group that includes Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin. But after Brodin signed a seven-year contract extension on September 15, Minnesota have him, Suter and Spurgeon each under contract for at least five more seasons, meaning he might not be able to protect Dumba. for the 2021 NHL expansion draft for Seattle. Kraken.
In that case, the Wild may have to make a decision before the 2021 NHL trade deadline on whether to keep Dumba, who still has three seasons on his contract, or wait until the end of the season and try to get him. ‘trade before expansion. Rough draft.
Video: 31 in 31: Minnesota Wild 2020-21 season preview
3. Who will be their captain?
Minnesota have no captain after deciding not to re-sign the center Mikko Koivu, who then signed a one-year contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets on October 10. Guerin has said the Wild will name a replacement before the start of the season, which is slated for Jan. 1, 2021.
Suter and before Zach Parise, who have each served as alternate captain for the past eight seasons, are candidates to replace Koivu, as is Spurgeon. Marcus Foligno and Kevin Fiala are also in the mix. Dumba would likely be a candidate if his future wasn’t uncertain.
“There are a lot of candidates, and I think whoever it is, they’ll have the support of all the other guys, all of the other veterans. »Said Parise. “No matter who it is, I think it will be a good collective group that will support each other. This is what matters most. ”