It was the worst kept secret in all of hockey. Over the last year the hot rumor in the NHL was that Thomas Vanek would play for the Minnesota Wild once he became a free agent. That rumor became reality on Tuesday as Minnesota signed Vanek to a three year contract worth $19.5 million. With the deal signed, it ends a year that was a long journey for Vanek.
The 2014 NHL Draft has come and gone and the next generation of Minnesota Wild players have been chosen. My previous blog went into detail about 1st round pick Alex Tuch. Here is what you need to know about the other players drafted by Minnesota.
The best way to describe the 2014 NHL Draft is forward heavy. If you need a center or a wing there is a good chance you can get one in this draft. That’s exactly what the Minnesota Wild did Friday night as they selected Alex Tuch with the 18th pick overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. Otherwise it was a pretty quiet night for Minnesota.
With the Stanley Cup Final over, the NHL offseason is officially underway. All 30 NHL teams will use this time to tweak or remake their rosters as they get ready for the 2014-2015 NHL season.
It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, many people didn’t give the Minnesota Wild a chance to win it all. The Wild finished with 98 points on the season, clinching the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference and a date with the Central Division champion Colorado Avalanche.
History has a tendency to repeat itself. For the third playoff series in a row, the Minnesota Wild went into Game 3 at Xcel Energy Center looking for their first win, being down two games to none. And thanks to a pair of Finns, the Wild got that victory on home ice, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Chicago now leads the series two games to one with Game 4 on Friday night.
As you know by now, the Minnesota Wild won their first playoff series in 11 years, defeating the Colorado Avalanche in seven games to move on to the next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In Game 6 of the series versus Colorado, the best players for the Minnesota Wild proved to be just that. Zach Parise had a four-point night (2G, 2A) including the game-winning goal. Mikko Koivu and Ryan Suter added two assists as Minnesota defeated Colorado 5-2 to even the series at 3-3, forcing Game 7 in Denver.
The 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs got off to a rocky start for the Minnesota Wild. Game 1 saw Minnesota with a two goal lead going into the third period only to see the Avalanche rally to tie the game and then winning it in overtime by a score of 5-4. In game 2, Minnesota was unable to stop Colorado’s transition game in the neutral zone as the Avalanche out-skated the Wild, winning 4-2.
On April 8, the Minnesota Wild clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. What was yet to be determined was who their opponent in the first round would be. The thought was the Wild would face either Anaheim or St. Louis, both of whom were leading their respective divisions at the time. When the dust settled on the regular season Sunday, it was the Colorado Avalanche who turned out to be Minnesota’s opponent in the first round.
On Wednesday, the Minnesota Wild played their final home game against the Vancouver Canucks before starting a four game road trip. With games coming against St. Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Chicago it was important to get two points against a Vancouver team that had been imploding over the last couple months.
It was a playoff-like atmosphere for the Minnesota Wild Thursday night with the New York Rangers in town, and the Wild ended a three-game winless skid with a 2-1 victory over the Rangers.
Going into the NHL trade deadline, the Minnesota Wild weren’t thought to be very active. Holding on to the first wild-card seed in the Western Conference, Minnesota should be a playoff team if they continue to play as they have since Jan. 1. If anything, the thought was the Wild would address the goal-tending situation and that would probably be it. Minnesota did that and then some. The Wild made two trades at the deadline, getting Ilya Bryzgalov from Edmonton and acquiring Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick from Buffalo.
The 8th annual Hockey Day Minnesota took place on Saturday starting with a trio of high school games in Elk River, Minn. That was followed by a game at Mariucci Arena between Ohio State and Minnesota, with the nightcap taking place at Xcel Energy Center between the Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Stars.
The last 12 days of 2013 weren’t kind to the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota lost its final three games going into the Christmas break. Out of the break the Wild lost its next three games, the last two of which coming on home ice.