Wild fans could not be happier with the signing of Thomas Vanek but they thought there was more to come. Team GM Chuck Fletcher looks like he has trust in his young talent coming up. Many say the Wild need a veteran defenseman to solidify their blue line for next year. But in recent drafts the Wild have grabbed defensemen such Matt Dumba and Gustav Olofsson who are both still under the age of 20 but could have a big role for Minnesota next year. This is huge risk for the Minnesota but there is also good that goes along with it.
Minnesota is playing for now. The want to be cup contenders and they made that apparent when they went out and signed one of the biggest names in free agency in, Thomas Vanek. The blue line still looks a little shaky. Don’t get me wrong Dumba and Olofsson are great young talents. We saw Dumba last season at the beginning of the season but he went back to his junior team, the Portland Winterhawks, because the Wild did not think he was ready. Dumba is an offense defenseman that loves to bang bodies. I could see see him and Suter being a dynamic lefty/righty combo on Minnesota’s power play. Which was rank 16th in the NHL last year but Vanek will help with that too. Where Dumba needs to improve is he play in his own zone. Sure, he’s good, but is he NHL good? He needs to be smart when come to making the right plays when breaking out of the defense zone. He needs to cut down on his turnovers and become a trusty D-man for the Wild.
Gustav Olofsson might be a little more unfamiliar to Wild fans. The Swedish born defenseman was drafted in the second round of the 2013 draft by Minnesota. The lefty played one year at Colorado College before signing an entry level contract with Minnesota just a few months ago. In the World Junior Tournament he was the top scoring defenseman for team Sweden. Another 19 year old with tons of talent. Olofsson will start the year with the Iowa Wild but watch for him to crack the Wild’s lineup sometime this year if he play continues to grow.
What Fletcher is doing by having trust in these young defense, Dumba, Olofsson, and Folin, (who I did not mention) is saving money. Next year year Minnesota has some of their young stars’ contracts to deal with. Names like Granlund, Coyle, and Haula, are all due up to be free agents after next year. If they put up the numbers they did numbers they did last year they are going to be looking for a good chunk of change. Not to mention we still have not signed our restricted free agents from this year (Blum, Kuemper, Niederreiter, Fontaine).
Final thoughts: We made the big signing in Thomas Vanek, making us cup contenders. We are saving money and trusting our young defensemen in the organization. We are saving money because we have young stars that deserved a pay day next season. We still have a shaking goalie situation but Kuemper is the plan for the future.
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