Four keys to the Wild season

  • Updated: October 2, 2013 - 6:35 PM

Jason Pominville was productive in the 10 regular-season games he played after the Wild acquired him from Buffalo at the trade deadline; the Wild hopes he continues that production over a full 82-game season. CARLOS GONZALEZ • cgonzalez@startribune.com

The Wild begins its 13th season Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings, and the objective is to build on last season’s playoff berth by taking the next step as an organization.

Expectations are high, especially from inside the owner’s suite.

“We have to continue to get better because there’s not one team in the league that is good enough right now to win the Stanley Cup,” said coach Mike Yeo, who is entering the final year of his contract. “The biggest thing for us is we want to get better offensively. That’s been well-documented. We’ve talked about it an awful lot.

“But our bread and butter still has to be that we have to be a great defensive team. The challenge for us is keep building the offensive part without taking away from the defensive part. That will be a work in progress.”

Here are four things to watch this season.

michael russo

1

The go-to guys

Much will be expected out of the top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville, and veteran sniper Dany Heatley.

Parise and Koivu were the team’s top scorers last season but didn’t produce in the playoffs. Both are highly driven to turn this into a feared line in the NHL, and it starts with work ethic and the Wild taking care of its own end so they have the puck.

The hardworking Pominville, who seems to mesh well with Parise, should complement Nos. 11 and 9. Pominville scored nine points in 10 games after arriving from Buffalo last season.

Heatley, in a contract year, is motivated to resurrect his career. Goals have come harder for him the past few years. He is coming off season-ending shoulder surgery, but he arrived in camp noticeably slimmer and looks as if he is skating better.

2

The young guys

Frankly, the kids must take the next step in their careers if the Wild is to have any hope.

It starts with Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter. To start the season, the 21-year-old 2010 first-round picks will skate on the second line with Heatley.

Coyle and Niederreiter, both standing 6-2 and weighing around 205 pounds, have size and can skate. They both had strong training camps, especially Coyle, who was all over the ice and scored three goals in five games. They will be key fixtures on the No. 2 power-play unit.

Mikael Granlund, 21, also a 2010 first-rounder, entered last season way too hyped and proved to not be ready. He arrived noticeably stronger and quicker. He made the team and will again have all eyes focused on him, especially with speedy fan favorite Jason Zucker waiting in the wings in Des Moines.

  • related content

  • In Year 2, Ryan Suter shines in the light

    Thursday October 3, 2013

    Hockey fame is not a great priority for one of the NHL’s most talented defensemen.

  • Dany Heatley

  • Jonas Brodin

  • Charlie Coyle

  • Niklas Backstrom

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2 FINAL
Washington - WP: T. Roark 4
Baltimore 5 Top 9th Inning
NY Yankees 4
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 7 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 1
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 10
Chicago WSox 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Detroit 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 2
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 3
Tampa Bay 6 Bottom 9th Inning
Boston 2
Houston 0 Top 7th Inning
Texas 2
St. Louis 3 Bottom 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Arizona 1 Top 7th Inning
Minnesota 5
LA Angels 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 0
San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New England 9/29/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Carolina 0 FINAL
Buffalo 2
Pittsburgh 0 FINAL
Columbus 2
Boston 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Nashville 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Toronto 4
Detroit 1 3rd Prd
Chicago 1
San Jose 0 2nd Prd 8:03
Vancouver 1
Arizona 1 1st Prd 11:15
Anaheim 0
Vancouver 9:30 PM
San Jose
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close