The Wild has picked in the top five only twice in its history. Marian Gaborik, No. 3 overall in 2000, was a big hit for Minnesota. Benoit Pouliot, No. 4 in 2005, was a big miss.

Of course, drafting early is not a guarantee of success. But many fans have been calling for the Wild to bottom out in the hopes of gaining a high draft pick next June. The draft lottery isn't a guarantee, as evidenced by Colorado falling out of the No. 1 spot last spring and New Jersey moving up four spots to No.1. However, to get the influx of talent and speed the Wild desperately needs, that might be the best route.

Though you won't see the Wild brass, led by GM Bill Guerin, giving up on this season after only a handful of games, the tough start and the prospect of more road games ahead isn't a recipe for a turnaround. The calls to bottom out might be unnecessary. It just might be happening on its own.

RANDY JOHNSON