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09-25-2003, 01:19 PM
I'll break this down on why I chose Darby Hendrickson...
I want to choose Jim Dowd also because like Hendrickson, he has no real big upside anymore and can be easily replaceable.
Richard Park is going to be the third guy cut when our rookies starting hitting stride but I give him the benefit of the doubt. Good teams need clutch players like these that turn it up in the post-season and Park really came through in the post-season and should be rewarded for that. He needs to stay consistant. He has speed, he has the ability but he doesn't have the consistancy to be a regular NHL player. He is a solid 3rd line/4th line guy for now but once guys like Hannula, Berzins (if ever him!), Cavosie, Cullen start really hitting stride and starting push Park will be the first one out to make room for these guys.
Stevenson is going to be one of the guys I don't think cut until Wanvig absolutely, positively proves that he can take over for Stevenson. Stevenson is one of those guys you don't immediately replace when a guy like Wanvig starts really showing some skills. It takes time. Stevenson is no means a power forward but he does add a lot of grit, size, and heart to the front lines. To me he is irreplaceble until Wanvig really, really pushes Stevenson hard for his spot or Stevenson has to retire. Stevenson maybe slow, and maybe one of the 'worst' players on the Wild goal wise but he adds a lot of characteristics to the front.
Brown from what I hear has greatly improved over the summer. He might be pushed into number 5 or 6 defensemen and I rather see Marshall and Bombardir go before he does. He is a fighter, which is good, and a tough guy. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and see if he finally has hit his stride. He's only 29 and has a couple more years before he leaves.
Jason Marshall I want him to go but there is no one really to replace him on the defensive corp that I see ready. Michalek, Reitz, Heid, and Roche still need time in the minors to really hit their consistancy and to gain confidence. For now Marshall will be a scratch but when needed he adds a little added grit to the blueline but he doesn't add a lot. He will be the first to be cut I believe once our defensemen really prove that they are ready.
Laaksonen, I think the only real person that is going to challenge Laaksonen for his position is Hannula. They are basically one in the same. Both are solid two-way players but Hannula needs to prove himself in Houston. Laaksonen also has a one year contract, making his release a little easier to swallow. He's getting up there in age, but I don't think that's a factor. I see him gone when Hannula shows he is ready.
Bill Mucklat, give him another year. He's old yes, but his season last year was cut short because of a very cheap hit. I give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll thrive under the Wild's leadership and guidance and will have another solid season.
Matt Johnson, we basically don't have any enforcers to replace Johnson, so he sticks. He is also a very reputable goon/enforcer, so he sticks indefinitely.
Darby Hendrickson is the one I would replace. He is off-injured a lot, and we got his replacement in Choiunard and Wallin. Shouldn't be hard since he is getting up there in age.