**Rating system for “Plus/Minus” Series**
+3 = Major Upgrade
+2 = Upgrade
+1 = Slight Upgrade
0 = Same as prior year
-1 = Slight Dowgrade
-2 = Downgrade
-3 = Major Downgrade
Team: Minnesota Wild
2010-11: 86 points, #12 in Western Conference
Returning: Niklas Backstrom
Arrivals: Josh Harding
Departures: Jose Theodore
Jose Theodore played 32 games for the Wild, and posted almost the same GAA and SV% as Backstrom. He also had a better record. Its hard to imagine Harding will be as good as Theodore, hence the -1 rating.
Returning: Nick Schultz, Marek Zidlicky, Greg Zanon, Clayton Stoner, Jared Spurgeon
Arrivals: Mike Lundin, Marco Scandella
Departures: Brent Burns, Cam Barker
While the addition of top prospect Marco Scandella is a positive, losing Brent Burns is going to leave a major hole on Minnesota’s blueline. This is a guy who scored 17 goals (8 on the PP) and played over 25 mins per game.
Returning: Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Cullen, Kyle Brodziak, Eric Nystrom, Brad Staubitz
Arrivals: Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latenderesse (return from injury), Darrol Powe, Colton Gillies
Departures: Martin Havlat, Andrew Brunette, John Madden, Antti Miettinen, Chuck Kobasew
If you break it down player-for-player; Heatley is better than Havlat in terms of goal scoring, Latendresse brings more than Andrew Brunette, and Setoguchi is a major upgrade over Miettinen, who couldn’t even get a job with an NHL team. Powe and Gillies are simply younger versions of Madden and Kobasew for the bottom 6.
OVERALL RATING: -1
2011-12 Prediction: #12-#14 in Western Conference
In a tough Western Conference, I just don’t see their defense and goaltending being good enough to be a playoff team. They are in a rebuilding phase, so some patience will be required.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.