Extreme makeover: Minnesota Wild

With Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, can Wild crack the playoffs?

Originally Published: July 11, 2012
By Neil Greenberg | Special to ESPN Insider
Chuck FletcherAP Photo/Andy KingMinnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold and GM Chuck Fletcher added the NHL's two top free agents this summer.

Trades and signings alter the makeup of rosters every summer, but some franchises renovate their rosters far more aggressively than others. For the next five weeks, Insider contributor Neil Greenberg will examine, in detail, five of the biggest summer shake-ups to see what we can expect from the overhauled lineups in the coming season. The series starts with the NHL's biggest free-agent winner -- the Minnesota Wild.


The Minnesota Wild landed both of the NHL's top prizes in free agency, signing forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, but they didn't stop there. The organization also added Zenon Konopka, a gritty fourth-line faceoff specialist, and third-line center Torrey Mitchell, giving the Wild their deepest and most balanced roster in the franchise's history.

Fans will remember the disappointment of this past season, when the Wild got off to a fantastic start before an awful 11-28-7 skid to end the season dropped them to 12th in the Western Conference and out of the playoff picture. Does adding the top free-agent forward and defenseman make them contenders in the Northwest Division and perhaps get them their first playoff berth since 2008? Probably not.


To read more about whether the Minnesota Wild can compete in the West, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Neil Greenberg is ESPN Insider's NHL analytics expert. His columns have appeared on the Washington Post website, and he is a regular guest on Sirius XM NHL Radio.