WILD needs dynamic off season

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury blocks a Zach Parise shot in the 1st period of Game 7 Friday night.

MOUNT ROYAL – It is often said that the Stanley Cup tournament is a war of attrition.
That statement has nothing but truth attached to it, and you needn’t look any farther than the Game Seven battle between the Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights.
After 56 regular-season tilts and six playoff games, no one is unscathed. Every player from each team has physical ailments to varying degrees.
The WILD entered this contest with at least two players attempting to play through an injury and had a total of four players dinged up in this game, with world-class D-man Jonas Brodin unable to return from his injury in the first period.
Of course, Vegas had their own set of injured players playing through as well. All I can say about this game, though, was that it might as well have been played in an alley. It was hard-fought, uncompromising, even brutal at times. And the WILD didn’t prevail.
The game was tight right through the 7:44 marker of the 2nd period when the VGK went up 3-2 and would go on to finish off the game (6-2) and the WILD’s season.
Before the playoffs, I had picked the Wild to prevail in this series. And I didn’t think it was some hare-brained emotional pick, either.
In a league with the parity of the NHL, and considering the all-time historical record of the WILD against the VGK, it was conceivable the WILD could have won here.
Few in the hockey business were giving the WILD much of a chance, but I just had that “feeling” that they could get the job done. And with a couple of extra bounces, they could have pulled off a rather epic upset. They didn’t get those and could not prevail here.
Is there any sort of feel-good story here or moral victory?
If you like those kinds of things, I’d say yes, there is. If you are a hard-core hockey individual or have been in or around the game for years, there is nothing but emptiness and disappointment for you. Only victory counts.
How long it might last is up to the person. I can say that the rest of the evening post-loss was a definite downer for me.
When I got up this morning, I already had it in perspective, which may not have occurred very quickly in my younger days.
My son was about the same, but I can’t speak to his feelings for today. I’m thinking he still may be experiencing a “burn” of some sort. That’s how hockey goes when you are deeply into it or care about a specific team. I certainly know that.
What is on the team’s plate for the off-season?
Next week the league draft lottery will take place on Wednesday evening, June 2. And FYI, the Expansion Draft will be held on Wednesday, July 21. Then the Entry Draft will take place on July 23-24.
The team will lose at least one player in the Expansion Draft. Speculation is rampant as to who that player will be.
Regarding the Entry Draft, the WILD holds the following positions:
• Round one picks 24 and 30.
• Round two pick 56.
• Round three picks 88 and 94.
• Round 4 pick 120.
• Round 5 pick 152.
• Round 6 pick 184.
•And in the 7th and final round, they will have pick 216.
Nine choices, with five of them in the top 100 ranked players. It will be interesting to see if GM Bill Guerin uses all of them or uses some of them in package deals relative to trades.
Considering players achieving UFA free-agent status or players entering RFA status, the following will become UFA’s; Johansson, Cole, Bjugstad, and Bonino.
Players of importance in RFA status are; Fiala, Ericksson Ek, and Kaprizov. There are several more players on the RFA list, but none are significant to the big roster. Fiala, Eriksson Ek, and Karpizov are essential to the club and must receive new deals.
As far as the UFA list goes, I’d have to give that some additional thought. I’m seriously unsure who you would re-sign from that list or if the team needs to retain them.
The team is in desperate need of two or three centers and might need a top-four D-man if Matt Dumba is exposed to the expansion draft.
In the pipeline, and without study-ing the Iowa roster, I would think that Marco Rossi and Matt Boldy have strong chances at getting a spot on the big club roster next season, but that will remain to be seen depending on how the drafting and re-signings go.
About all I can offer to Guerin at this time is, roll up the sleeves, Billy! You are going to be in deep this summer!
ROUND TWO (divisional semis) of the SC tourney kicked off tonight with BOS facing the NYI.
In addition, MON met TOR in G6 of their series, with the Habs taking their 2nd consecutive tilt in OT. They won 3-2 to set up a “Seven Heaven” for Monday night. I cannot possibly wait.
As far as the first round went, I am 3-4 on series with one series left to complete.
Before the start of the tourney, I had picked TOR to win. I’d say all bets are off as to how that series will finish. And I say that for too many reasons to list here.
The Leafs have dominated the last two games; the Canadiens have won them both.
I may have to observe Monday’s game in a soundproof room; my Collie pup doesn’t quite understand yet what’s going on when I’m jumping up and down and flailing my arms about like some kind of nut. She thinks it’s time for some wrestling.
For R1, I had PIT over NYI, BOS over WAS, COL over STL, MIN over VGK, TOR over MON, EDM over WPG, CAR over NSH, and FLA over TB. The winners were; NYI, BOS, COL, VGK, WPG, CAR, TB, with the TOR-MON series still undecided.
In R2, I like the NYI over BOS in 6. This could be a tough matchup for the Isles, though. BOS is tough, and they are rested. I like the Isles from a defensive stance. I like COL over the VGK in 6. COL is also well-rested and in good shape after sweeping the Blues. The Avs will come at the Knights in waves, and I’m not sure how the VGK will hold up to that.

After watching the JETS sweep EDM in four games, I do not see TOR or MON beating them in a seven-game series. I’ll take Coach Paul Maurice over Keefe or DuCharme, and even with Carey Price in goal for MON potentially, Connor Hellebuyck has been en Fuego so far. WPG in 5.
As far as CAR versus TB goes, it’s hard to go against a high-quality defending Cup Champ. Plus, the Bolts have the best goalie (Andrei Vasilenskiy) in the world right now. Lightning in 7 games.
PEACE, Over & Out!!