The Minnesota Wild continue to be one of hottest team in the NHL and their new acquisitions have made them become more of a threat in the Western Conference. Devan Dubnyk has saved this season for the Wild. Also, he has made GM Chuck Fletcher, acquire more talent at the trade deadline to revamp the Minnesota Wild’s roster. With how well the team has been playing, the Wild’s deadline deals are not just to make the playoffs, but the deals allow them to be dangerous team, come late April.
The Wild made three deals around the trade deadline. It started with Sean Bergenheim, who came from the Florida Panthers and was put in a position to succeed right away. Head coach, Mike Yeo put him on the Wild’s first line, in a big game against the Nashiville Predators. He finished his first night with four shots but a -2 rating, somewhat of a disappointment to start his Wild career. Bergenheim has continued to be shuffled around in the Wild’s lineup and has struggled to find chemistry with his teammates. Mike Yeo tried to send a message a to Bergenheim by playing him on the fourth-line against New Jersey; he responded positively having his best game in a Wild’s sweater, picking up his first point in 7 games. My thoughts are, we might have expected a little more from Bergenheim than he has produced but he currently fits well on our fourth-line. The pressure of being on the bottom line, gives him an incentive to execute his best every time he touches the ice. He knows if his play doesn’t improve, the next spot he is heading is the press box, becoming a health scratch for the Wild.
One thing the Wild needed was a physical presents in their lineup. Along comes, Chris Stewart from Buffalo, a mean, power forward who goes hard to get to the net. Stewart had an instant impact for the Wild protecting his teammates. 45 seconds into a heated game with rival Colorado, Stewart fought Cody McLeod, who has recently been a bully to the Wild. Stewart has been great for the Wild, he has 2 goals, 2 assist, 2 fights, and a +2 rating, in 7 games. He has found himself a spot on the second line, playing with Niederreiter and Koivu. Also adding depth to the power play, as he has been a huge net-front presents on Wild’s second unit.
The Wild continue to struggle through injuries, especially to their defensemen. Who better to bring back to Minnesota than former Minnesota Gopher, Jordan Leopold? As a defensemen, he is not flashy and is not going to light up the box score but he has got the job done. He’s averages 19 shifts per game and has greatly improved the Wild’s third D-pairing. He is a veteran, with a great deal of experience in playoff hockey. The move allows Mike Yeo to have options with his defensemen, come playoff time.
This small sample size of games we have seen from the new guys on the block have impressed me. Bergenheim looks to have found a home on the fourth line. Stewart continues to be a force to be wrecking with on the ice. Leopold is quietly helping out a blueline filled with injuries. The deadline deals have improved and gave the Wild the depth they need to make a run at the Stanley Cup.