Diagnosing the Minnesota Wilds’ Problems


The Minnesota Wild are still tied for least amount of games played in the NHL, which is pretty annoying on one hand. On the other hand, it’s a good thing they’ve got a few extra games to dig themselves out of 10th place in the Western Conference. But as of now, the Wild haven’t been able to develop even the slightest form of consistency. Why is this?

First off, let’s get the power play out of the way. The Wild’s is current the 26th best in the league, or 5th worst, however you feel like saying it. Either way, it’s awful and holding the team back. For speculation, if the Wild had a top-10 power play, they’d have about 10 more goals on the season. With so many close games lately, those goals would sure come in handy.

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Now that we’ve touched on the elephant in the room, let’s look at some stats. The Wild are 3rd in the league in shots on-goal per game (32.2) and 1st in shots against per game (26.5). Being so dominant in two crucial areas should NOT leave them tenth in the conference. If you read those last two sentences and immediately thought goaltending issues, you’d be dead on. Neither

Darcy Kuemper


Niklas Backstrom

are top-40 in the league in goals against average. That means that their are a several teams who’s backup goalies are better than the Wild’s starting goalie. At this point, they don’t even have a starting goalie. Hopes were high for Darcy Kuemper at the beginning of the season, but after being pulled 4 times in his last 5 starts, that hope is gone for now. No team in the NHL has a lower save percentage than the Minnesota Wild. Ouch.

Head Coach Mike Yeo hasn’t been a happy camper lately for more reasons than the sieves in net.

“I’m not going to sit here and say that it has been good enough,” Yeo said of the goaltending. “But also I don’t think we’re doing a great job in front of them to help them get on top of their game. I would say that it has been an issue, but at the same time we’ve compounded things.”

After an embarrassing performance at the Xcel Energy Center in which the Wild allowed 6 goals, captain Mikko Koivu was pretty blunt in his assessment of the team.

“That’s a problem right there,” Koivu said. “That can’t happen. With five goals, you should be able to win a hockey game. And we’re not doing that right now. Bottom line is we’ve got to be better.”

With 51 games left in the season, there’s still time to right the ship. But it has to start now. The top teams in the western conference aren’t going to lose very many games. Nothing will be given, the Wild have to be takers. A team with such high-end talent should be smooth sailing into the playoffs, but problems between the pipes can anchor the proverbial ship very quickly.

Dec 17, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo during the second period against Boston Bruins at Xcel Energy Center. The Bruins defeated the Bruins 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports