The season's almost over now, time to cast your votes. And the nominees are:
Came into the camp as a #3, the just-in-case, insurance type of guy, and is finishing the season as the #1. Got some timely breaks along the way (Harding's injury in training camp, Manny's injury midway through the season), but there's no question that this guy is the real deal. There's also no question that this Wild team wouldn't be where it is today if it wasn't for his steady, confident play down the stretch.
Games Played - 38
Record - 20-8-6
GAA - 2.11 (2nd in the NHL)
SV% - .925 (Tied for 1st in the NHL)
Shutouts - 3
Our biggest trade aquisition to date. The instant chemistry with Gaborik was expected, but once Gabby went down injured, Pavol looked lost out there (then there was that concussion, too). Took him some time to adjust, but once Gaborik came back - BOOM!- Demitra was back to his annual PPG form. Leads the team in assists and points, third on the team in ice time (2nd among forwards).
Our biggest offensive weapon, one of the true gamebreakers in the league. Came out of the gate firing on all cylinders, then got injured 7 games into the season. Once the annual groin problem was out of the way, there was no stopping him. Aided by the incredible chemistry he shares with his buddy Demitra, he instantly returned to his gamebreaking form. Having missed 34 games, he is second on the team in goals and PP goals, and tied for 4th in points. Leads the team in game winning goals.
One of the leaders of this team, both in the locker room and on the scoresheet. Rolston was about the only bright spot during the horrible nose dive in November/December. Drove a lot of goalies nuts with his howitzer (as if most goalies weren't nuts to begin with). Slowed down a bit in the second half (with the help of a stomach virus). Leads the team in goals and PP goals. Second on the team in points and game winning goals. Leads all forwards in average ice time.
Well i voted for Rolston. Yeah Gaborik may be more valuable. But without guys like Rolston steadily plugging away. We would be fighting for the playoffs rather then have an easy in.
I also think that Mark Parrish should get some kind of recognition here. Takes a licking and keeps on tiking. Gets those garbage goals and he has to be in every goalies head. Has been a very good captain.
Without Backstrom ... Harding and Manny share the load, Harding may have shown that he's the man instead of Niklas ... there's a chance of this, at least.
Without Demitra ... We'd be losing Gaborik to free agency. However, he showed he was mortal during the Nov - Jan slump.
Without Rolston ... Hmmm ... this one is tough. Brian is the leader on this team whether or not he's wearing the C. I don't really have a Yea, but for Rolston.
Without Gaborik ... Demitra was lost, Rolston carried the offense (and with only 1 line to shut down, the Wild were easier to defend against) and the Wild were not going to make the playoffs. He's the Wild's talisman. I voted for Gabbie.