Team: Minnesota Wild
They made the postseason, but it really was in name only. They finished last season with a pretty pathetic 87 points. Do you know how many better teams miss the playoffs? A lot of them! The Bruins had six more points and didn't even make the postseason. The Kings and Sharks missed last year with more points. This was worse than virtually any 11th place team in recent history. The only reason it got there was because the Avs pulled the plug on their season quicker than Patrick Roy pulls a goalie.
Anyway, once the playoffs began, they fell 3-0 in their series and meekly bowed out to a Dallas team that has a bag of wet leaves for a goaltender. They went out more quietly than Prince.
Your Head Coach
Mike Yeo was fired midseason, and interim coach John Torchetti was not brought back, which can only mean....ohhhhhhhhhh baby!
Bruce Boudreau is in town now to help the Wild get to the next level! He comes to a team that is perennially unable to get anywhere in the postseason to help them....well, continue doing that. But they'll at least be playing a lot better while doing that.
You know what you're getting with Boudreau; it's pretty clockwork. You'll look dominant all season long, only to fold like a lawn chair once the calendar turns to May. This is the guy that coached a 121-point Capitals team that scored roughly 284796395 goals to a first round exit. He won four division titles in Anaheim, but only three playoff series (two of which were against laughably bad teams). That's about the best case scenario for your future. That would involve actually accomplishing something in the regular season, which I can't really see happening.
Anyway, Bruce is here because his only other job offers were from Calgary and Ottawa. That's how you landed the big fish, Minnesota; your only competitors were somehow less desirable cities than yours. Heck, he was this close to spurning you for Ottawa until Eugene Melnyk made it abundantly clear his salary would be paid in Canadian Tire money. Don't flatter yourselves.
Your Starting Goalie
Devan Dubnyk, who you're now stuck with until 2021 because you thought it'd be a good idea to pay him for putting up a .936 SV% in a half season. He had just a .918 last season and you barely made the playoffs. You're basically stuck hoping he doesn't turn into his 2011-2014 self again.
You have to hope that; you don't have the space to get rid of him, because....
New Things That Suck
Oh hey, Eric Staal! You're paying him $3.5MM a season with cap space you barely have even though he hasn't been any good since about 2012. He had 13 goals and 39 points last year. He's so washed up that the Hurricanes didn't even want him back. Do you understand how bad you have to be for that to happen? The Hurricanes want EVERYONE back. They brought back Cam Ward, for crying out loud. That's like not even getting a participation ribbon at a fun run.
To make room for one mediocre, past-his-prime, they bought out another. Thomas Vanek will receive $4MM from the Wild over the next two years to not play for them. Vanek, by the way, had more points on the Wild than Staal did on teams that were not the Wild. Never forget that this team is an offensive Bermuda triangle for virtually every player that enters. Converting a player's offensive totals to this team is like calculating the loonie at USD circa 2001.
Did you know they also had four draft picks last year? Four. Traded all the rest for Matt Moulson, Sean Bergenheim, David Jones, and a 7th round pick. Man, that's some asset management right there. Chuck Fletcher is taking his dad's credo a bit too seriously.
Things That Still Suck
My god, your entire identity is being as obnoxious as possible. Your "State of Hockey" crap is rapidly approaching St. Louis Cardinals' "Best Fans in Baseball" levels of insufferability. It is quite hilarious to watch the anger on Twitter come from Wes Walz parody accounts and people whose avatar is them looking extremely couply with their own sibling. It's fun to watch your fanbase get utterly irate and defensive about those who question that title, because NEWS FLASH: you're not. Watching a bunch of 16-year old kids play for the D-1 title between the Erikson High Lutefisks and the Eriksen High MayoCats does not make you the true arbitrer of American hockey. You know what several parts of America have not done that you have? Lost an NHL franchise.
That's right, you can blame Norm Green all you want, but you lost that team. Nobody could've moved that team without the simple fact that people just didn't show up for games. The North Stars finished sixth-last in attendance the season they made the Stanley Cup Final! That team had more fans show up for games in Texas than Minnesota. Hockey is still maybe their fourth most popular spot; fifth if we count "concealed weaponry."
Now all you're left with is a sterile remake of the team that you used to have. You've won four playoff series in franchise history. Your team's most notable moment in franchise history is precipitating a lockout by giving Zach Parise and Ryan Suter matching 12-year, $96 million contracts, then crying poor about it.
By the way, you have just $2.1MM in cap space, with some RFAs set to get paid this offseason and no UFAs coming off the books until 2018. Your management has painted itself into a corner, and then rolled around a bunch in that paint.
Why You Might Not Suck
Bruce Boudreau is actually a good coach; also, using Prince as a full-time goal song is pretty cool.