The Boys on the Bus went out and acquired Andrew Ference (aging 3rd pairing D in Boston) Nikitin Nikitin (marginal 3rd pairing D in Columbus) Brad Hunt (an average AHL D) and Mark Fayne (a 2nd paring D at best) and then have tried to assemble a legit NHL defensive corp which includes Justin Schulz (who cannot play D AT ALL) and Jeff Petry (who would be a 4-5D on a good team. What could go wrong?
1) A big, veteran, skilled #1 or #2 C
2) Two legit top pairing D
3) An above average goaltender.
They have NONE of those things and nothing much will change unless those needs are addressed.
The Minnesota Wild are/is the real deal folks. Zach Parise has been nothing but spectacular early on with 2G and 2A in 2GP and has fired a staggering 19 SOG on the opposition net.
Before the season began, there was some concern about the Wild goaltending but, so far, Darcy Kuemper has answered those concerns in a big way. The opposition has fired 46 shots on him and he has allowed zero goals. The huge (6’5″) 24 year old has appeared in 34 NHL games over 3 seasons and is developing a nice resume with a career save percentage of .919.
The Wild signed 21 year old defenseman Jonas Brodin to a 6 year contract extension this morning. Brodin has established himself as a bonafide top pairing D in the NHL after being drafted 10th overall in the 2011 draft.
The Wild roster also includes several young players who were drafted by the Wild in Matt Dumba (2012), Mikael Granlund, (2010), Jason Zucker (2010) Darcy Kuemper (2009) and Erik Haula (2009). Nice work.
The Florida Panthers have been awful early but the real story is what happened last night at the Panthers home opener.
The announced attendance of 11,419 was the smallest for a home opener in franchise history.
The previous low was 12,087 at Miami Arena for the 1995-96 debut famously remembered as the “Rat Trick” game.