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The Minnesota wild team needs to increase their center depth

As the 2021-22 NHL season progresses, Minnesota Wild Continue to top the Central Division with a record of 11-6-1 (23 points). Having said that, in the division, the difference between the first and sixth place is only five points, so Wild still needs to find a way to keep away from others. One way is to add another top nine center forwards to the team.

In fact, Wild’s centers have been fulfilling their potential. Yes, Rem PitlikThe breakthrough is impressive Joel Eriksson EckHis 12 points are respectable (although not impressive by his standards). However, it can be said that none of the other players in this position really stand out. This is why Minnesota should consider adding another top nine center sometime between now and the trade deadline on March 21, 2022.

Wild current center group

As mentioned above, Wild’s current center team is led by Eriksson Ek. Eriksson Ek signed an 8-year, $42 million Renew the contract. Whenever a player signs such a contract, expectations are high, especially after he scored 19 goals and 11 assists in 56 games last year. Although his current 0.42 goals per game (GPG) allowed him to score a career-high 34 goals in a season of 82 games, his four assists still have many shortcomings. It’s not that he can’t be a capable organizer. After all, just two seasons ago, he contributed 21 assists in 62 games. In any case, he still has enough talent, and as the season continues, he should find more stability.

Pitlik is another wild center who performed well in the first quarter of the 2021-22 season.Before Minnesota Claim him from the Nashville Predators On October 6, he scored only two points in a professional NHL game. Since joining Wild, he has scored 4 goals and 3 assists in 10 games, including his first hat-trick against the Seattle Sea Monsters on November 14. However, Pitlick only has 21 NHL game experience. Although he may be part of the team in the next few years, he still has not been confirmed (to some extent), and the team cannot expect him to perform like the top six forwards every night.

Rem Pitlick (Rem Pitlick) while serving as Admiral Milwaukee. (Jenny Anderson / Hockey writer)

The Wild also has Frederick Gaudreau and Nicole Sturm However, on the list, neither of them became No. 2 in the middle. Currently, Gaudreau’s average playing time (TOI) ranks second among all centers in Minnesota, at over 17 minutes. Considering that he only scored 8 points in 19 games, this is not enough to justify his time on ice. Although Sturm did a good job in winning the standoff (59.1%), he only had 7 points and currently does not appear to be more than the top six.

with Then Victor Lask And Nick Burgstad. Lask’s tenure in Minnesota was disappointing. After playing two 40-point-plus seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes and averaging 0.48 points per game (PPG), he averaged 0.34 points per game on the Wilds and did not exceed 23 points in a single season. On the other hand, Burgstad could easily become a bigger disappointment this year. The former first-round draft pick, who had guaranteed double-digit goals early in his career, had 2 goals and 0 assists in 16 games this season. The injury history prevents Bjugstad from being the player he used to be, which makes him a candidate for Wild should consider replacing to improve the team.

Field Target Center

In the summer or even the beginning of the year, Jack Eichel looks very likely Could have been traded to MinnesotaObviously, this did not happen when the Buffalo Sabres transferred him to the Vegas Golden Cavaliers. Nevertheless, this is still disappointing, because Wild seems to be ready to bring in a legitimate No. 1 center and now has to turn to other options on the market.

related: Relive Minnesota Wild Draft – 2013

One center that can have a real impact on Wild is JT Miller of the Vancouver Canucks. ProvinceBen Kuzma reported that Minnesota has made a potential deal for the 28-year-old center. He is the kind of offensive genius who can change the top nine forwards of any team. He scored 137 points in 142 professional games for the Canucks, which shows how dangerous he is and that he has been averaging points per game in the current campaign. Miller’s contract stipulates that by the 2022-23 season, his average annual salary (AAV) per season is $5.25 million. However, for the works he brings, this is not just a good deal.

JT Miller Vancouver Canucks
JT Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Owen / Hockey writer)

Several unrestricted free agents may be suspended before this year’s trade deadline. This is not the strongest batch of UFAs, although people like Tomas Hertl may be the ones that Wild is following. Since the start of the 2018-19 NHL season, Hertel has scored 166 points (0.86 PPG) in the past 194 games. The most impressive performance of the Czech center is that he scored 74 points in 77 games three seasons ago.If that’s a player that Minnesota can get hands on, then there’s no doubt he can Electrocution crime It might even inspire Eriksson Ek to work harder for the number one spot.

At the same time, management may not want to spend money on big-name leasing companies if they leave before the end of the year. Or, maybe, they don’t want to run out of future salary cap space. Fortunately, there are affordable options out there.Philadelphia Flyers center Derek Brasard is a veteran Who played better than expectedAfter a few bland seasons, the 34-year-old Canadian has scored 11 points in 17 games this season. This is enough for him to score 50 points in 82 games, which will also be his best result in six years. Brasard also has 117 playoff experience, including 4 Eastern Conference finals appearances and the 2013-14 New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals. He is currently dealing with a lower body injury, so this situation needs to be monitored. In any case, even at this stage of his career, his presence is good for wild offense and the locker room.

Wild Have Options in Iowa

If the central trading market is not interested in Wild, they can always turn to some viable options in the American Hockey League for help. The organization’s center in Iowa has performed well this season, especially Marco Rossi.this The former star of Ottawa 67 In his first 11 AHL games, he left a deep impression, contributing 3 goals and 11 assists. Considering that Gaudello led all Minnesota Literates with 5 assists this season, it is safe to say that if given a chance, Rossi may be the best midfielder for the NHL club.

related: The 3 best value contracts of the Wild 2021-22 season

Mason Shaw is another center looking good. So far, he has scored 4 goals and 7 assists in 13 games.Last season he impressed with 0.73 PPG speed, but his History of ACL injury Some people wonder whether he can reach his potential at the next level. There is also 29-year-old veteran Kyle Law (12 points in 8 games), although he has never impressed in the NHL, despite his consistent AHL production. That being said, even long-term observation of any one of the above may ignite flames under a center already on the Wild roster.

Unfortunately, the above players are the best choice for Minnesota to find internal solutions. Joseph Cramarossa is also expected to participate in professional AHL sports, however, although he was selected more than ten years ago, he did not succeed in the NHL. The Wild team gave Conradua four games in the major leagues this season, but this resulted in zero points and a -3 plus-minus rating. It seems that he is not ready to play for the long term in the NHL, and Minnesota better not burn any games from his entry-level contract.

There is still time to be wild

Fortunately, they don’t need to add a center overnight. As mentioned earlier, they have been close to the top of their department throughout the year, and the current central group is looking for a way to get the committee to complete its work. Nevertheless, this does not guarantee that it will work in the next more than 60 games, and soon the top centers on the market begin to leave the board. Minnesota has already lost to Echel, and adding a player to this position may be the difference between a long playoff and another playoff exit.

Regardless of whether Wild’s solution is internal or external, one thing is clear: if Minnesota solves this problem while it is still very young, life will be stressful.

As a lifelong hockey fan and a recent graduate of a master’s degree in journalism, it has always been my dream to write about this sport. That’s why you can find me in the Minnesota Wilderness of THW Report! You can also see my work on FanDuel, Ottawa Citizens and various sports betting sites. Follow me on Twitter @devplat!

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