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NHL Vancouver Canucks dismiss former WILD Coach Bruce Boudreau.
LESTER PARK – If you enjoyed the Minnesota Vikings in their just-ended NFL season, hang on to a few memories of it because next season just might disappoint.
As of right now the Minnesota Vikings are roughly $13.1 mil over the salary cap. Some analysts are predicting gloom and doom for the Purple next year because of it.
Well, that could be, and then again it might not be as tough as it sounds. First off, the NFL CBA allows for contract restructuring between teams and players. And if there is no interest in that between the two parties, the club can cut them.
The financial implications involved here are much different than the other three major sports leagues CBA’s call for in that regard. Just ask Wild fans if you have any questions.
And there is a list of possible candi-dates, including up to 10 veteran players who could be cut, bringing the team about $80 mil of salary relief and would allow the team to evolve to a different future.
The vets in question are Adam Theilen, Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Smith, Dalvin Cook, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Harrison Phillips, Jordan Hicks, Chris Reed and the popular CJ Ham.
QB Kirk Cousins is due $36 mil next season, is it possible to restructure his deal?
And regarding the names offered up for cap savings, are any of them untouchable?
No. The team was a first-round play-off flameout with them.
Freshman GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is about to become a sophomore NFL GM.
How was his freshman year? This was one of the most exciting Vikes seasons in a few in my opinion. I could feel it in the fanbase. Certainly there were a lot of rollercoaster weeks involved for the club but they put together a respectable won-loss record even if their analytics revealed the many holes the team had.
So what’s the reality of the potential cap woes that the Vikes might face? I don’t believe they will be that difficult to overcome. The team will lose some players who were on the upper end of the salary graph and for one reason or another are expendable, and then we will see how adept at roster building Adofo-Mensah is. He is going to have to choose carefully and prudently.
I’m looking for a little bit of a backstep here, but hoping I’m wrong.
The Detroit Lions are poised to take over the NFC North, and this is probably their window. How long they can ride that wave is unknown at this time.
THE MINNESOTA WILD have completed three-fourths of their eastern road trip and it hasn’t been pretty. For the calendar week ended with last night’s loss to the Florida Panthers (5-3), the team went 1-2 for two of a possible six points.
They began the trip with a win versus WAS (4-2), and then dropped games against CAR (5-2) ahead of the loss to the Cats in Sunrise FLA Saturday eve.
But hold on friends, I don’t want to sound any alarm bells or the like, but if you look at the NHL standings in depth you will see that a playoff spot for the Wild is anything but guaranteed.
In the Western Conference they currently hold third place in the NHL Central with 54 points/45 games. From a points perspective they would be the seventh team in an eight-team playoff race.
Some minor separation has occurred in the current league standings. The eight teams in playoff positions right now are, DAL/63 pts. WIN/63 pts. MIN/54 pts. the VGK/60 pts. SEA/59 pts. LAK/58 pts. EDM/57 pts. COL/53 pts.
Right behind these eight clubs are CAL/53 pts. NSH/50 pts. and STL/49 pts. The next closest team would be VAN with 39 pts. but I believe it would be a challenge for them to return to the playoff race based on recent performance along with the coaching change after firing Bruce Boudreau and replacing him with Rick Tocchet. (that’s a whole other story) Bruce got a heck of a bounce from this team last season when he took over.
In 57 games the team went 32-15-10 and briefly challenged for a playoff spot after many had long written the team off. I don’t expect we will be seeing that two seasons in a row. This is a worn-down team at the moment, and it isn’t just from the entire Boudreau dismissal. This club is a mess right now and that is from a top-to bottom-basis. In fact it probably starts at the top.
But that’s how the Western looks at the moment. The Wild does not have a spot locked down and based on what I see in the club over the past three weeks I have some concerns.
The team is 4-5 in January for 10 of 18 points. They have three tilts for the upcoming week before going on their bye week, which also coincides with All-Star week this year. They will be @ TBL, then home to PHI and BUF.
Out of the nine games they have played so far in January I can only pick out about 14 of what I would call “good periods.” The team went to OT and the SO once each, losing both.
The club holds firm at 22nd in GF/140 but has slipped to 9th in GA/128. They are 12th on the PP/23.9% and are at 15th on the PK/79.1%. They still are severely deficient in the penalties department ranking with the 3rd most PIMs in the league with 558. They are 3-2 in their L5 but only 5-3-2 in their L10.
Somewhat in their favor if they could capitalize on it is that they are one of two teams with the least games played in the west. They have games in hand over everyone they are up against. But those do you no good if you don’t win them and this team looks shaky to me right now.
We have been told many times this team is a veritable Shangrila culture-wise. Every player cares for each other and all get along. And you know what? I believe that.
On the surface it is a very cohesive group. So I’ve mapped out some of the most basic hockey data relating to the team. And it says what it says. For the talent the team has it is in the lower third of teams in scoring. The team defense could be slipping albeit slightly at this time. The PP and PK are static and have done what they have always done. The team takes too many penalties.
The goaltending has been a strength for the most part with some slippage on occasion but that’s hard to separate out if the team’s defensive play is deficient and it has been at times. After about eight players the scoring and points totals spiral downward pretty fast.
And there are five players who made some big offensive contributions last year that have basically disappeared from the scoresheet this season. And at least one of them takes a lot of ill-timed selfish penalties.
It all adds up to one thing. We got trouble right here in River City my friends! What does this team really have? They need to reveal it, fast. PEACE