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Old
05-29-2013, 01:19 AM
  #1
thestonedkoala
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Center Depth

We have an off-season thread and rather derail that with speculation over our centers, why not create a new thread? Outside defense, this is probably the weakest position for Minnesota. There isn't a lot we should expect from Iowa and the UFA list is mediocre at best this off-season.

So what do we have:

Mikko Koivu - Solid, if not a bit underwhelming, center. Career best is 22 goals, 49 assists for 71 points. Has some durability concerns. Needs a better second line (or even first line center) to produce.

Kyle Brodziak - Terrible year this year. Was a solid 3rd line center up until this year. Hopefully will rebound next year. Best season was last year with 22 goals, 22 assists for 44 points. Could possibly play 2nd line duty in a pinch but is better at a 3rd line center.

Torrey Mitchell - More of a winger than a center. Speed but no hands. Best season was 9 goals, 14 assists for 23 points. Bottom 6 center/winger. Showed some flashes of being a solid checking line player.

Zenon Konopka - At best reserve center that provides some grit and toughness on the lower lines. Best season was 2 goals, 7 assists for 9 points. Shouldn't be seen as anything more than a face off specialist and enforcer.

FA:

Matt Cullen - Streaky 2nd line center. Best season was 25 goals, 24 assists for 49 points (which he matched a few years later with 13 goals, 36 assists). Has shown some good chemistry with a variety of Wild players. Still probably has a few more good seasons in him.

In the System:

Mikael Granlund - Underwhelming center pushed into the NHL too soon. Should start in Iowa and be used as a reserve center in case of injuries. Probably should be used more at wing than center. Needs to bulk up and show more physical play. Hopefully develops into a 2nd line center but that remains to be seen.

Eric Haula - Had a solid but unheralded career in University of Minnesota. Still uncertain of his potential. Could take over for Brodziak in a few years if his projection is on pace. Probably the most underrated prospect for the Wild. Next year will be big for Haula.

Zack Phillips - Major project at this point. Like Granlund had a very underwhelming year in the AHL but showed some glimpses of his offensive potential. Uncertain if he'll ever make it in the NHL, but if he meets his projection could be that 2nd line center Minnesota needs.

Tyler Graovac - Graovac capped off a great year in the OHL. After years of disappointment, Graovac finally showed glimpses of his potential this season. Injuries have derailed his career and he has a major road to climb but he has the skills to become a regular in the NHL.


---

The biggest issue is re-signing Cullen or finding a cheaper second line center. Some potential FAs:

Derek Roy (I'm curious if Pom has any chemistry with him)
Stephen Weiss (could be a solid line 2nd line center but maybe pricey)
Valtteri Filppula (fellow Finnish player. Broke out last season. Could be a solid 2nd line center)
Tyler Bozak (probably not as Toronto will want to sign him)

As for RFA we could target, I don't see any that Minnesota could trade for without giving up something substantial.

Now this isn't a thread to debate really if our centers are good or not, or they aren't working but the depth and possible solutions to fix the depth.

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Old
05-29-2013, 02:19 AM
  #2
Randy BoBandy
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I would like to see us move away from Cullen. He is just too streaky for my taste. We need a more consistent threat on the second line. That being said I don't think any of the free agents that I want would be had for cheap. We can't keep tying up large sums and long terms. So I think we sign Cullen for a couple years and hope Haula/Granlund/Phillips can figure their **** out.

For the right price I would like Roy. I don't care what people say about his attitude or leadership or whatever some people around here have problems with. We have Parise, I feel like he can straighten anyone out. Roy always looks dangerous out there and creates a lot of offense. But I don't want to pay him for a long time. So that is probably out of the question.

Then it would be a toss up between Fillpula and Bozak. Would be nice, but doubt it.

Hopefully Cullen comes back at a discount and plays like he did most of this year. Otherwise we might just be **** out of luck.

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Old
05-29-2013, 02:52 AM
  #3
Billy Mays Here
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So our problem is center depth, and yet you (tsk) want to trade away Koivu for prospects? Seems legit.

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Old
05-29-2013, 03:48 AM
  #4
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trade koivu for dman

that will solve the center problem

profit

mhmm


ok all

lets face the facts

we'd all suck as gm. time to grow up and stop wasting time

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Old
05-29-2013, 04:15 AM
  #5
thestonedkoala
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Originally Posted by Billy Mays Here View Post
So our problem is center depth, and yet you (tsk) want to trade away Koivu for prospects? Seems legit.
Strome is a center (and could eventually develop into a damn good one). Drop Koivu would free up 6.7 million in cap space meaning we could bring in a solid center like Derek Roy and possibly another like Valtteri Filppula. This would keep Granlund and Phillips from being rushed and give us much depth.

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05-29-2013, 04:20 AM
  #6
thestonedkoala
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Originally Posted by Randy BoBandy View Post
I would like to see us move away from Cullen.
Would like to move away from Cullen but we need someone familiar with the system.

Quote:
He is just too streaky for my taste.
You could say that about the entire team.

Quote:
We need a more consistent threat on the second line. That being said I don't think any of the free agents that I want would be had for cheap. We can't keep tying up large sums and long terms. So I think we sign Cullen for a couple years and hope Haula/Granlund/Phillips can figure their **** out.
We do need a more consistent threat from all of our lines. Signing Cullen for 2 years and hoping Haula/Granlund/Phillips develop might be the best plan.

Quote:
For the right price I would like Roy. I don't care what people say about his attitude or leadership or whatever some people around here have problems with. We have Parise, I feel like he can straighten anyone out. Roy always looks dangerous out there and creates a lot of offense. But I don't want to pay him for a long time. So that is probably out of the question.
Agreed. Leadership shouldn't be a problem with Koivu, Suter, and Parise. Roy might be looking for his last contract though. He's dropped off remarkably in the last few seasons as well.

Quote:
Then it would be a toss up between Fillpula and Bozak. Would be nice, but doubt it.
Fillpula would be nice but it would be a long term contract and I don't think Minnesota would want to do that.

Quote:
Hopefully Cullen comes back at a discount and plays like he did most of this year. Otherwise we might just be **** out of luck.
Hopefully. Hopefully another team doesn't throw an obscene amount of money for Cullen because of the lack of talent in the FA crop this year.

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Old
05-29-2013, 05:43 AM
  #7
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Strome is not the answer. Watched him alot, good prospect but unproven, we have those.

Looks like at our prospects that were spoken of.

Granlund 1 goal in last 9 ahl games, Haula who everybody on here raved about as always happens before a guy turns pro had 1 goal in 10 games, Phillips p[layed half a year with kassian/Granthum and caron then got switched to wing for last 25 games or so.
Cost of getting a centermen as we've all seen is tremendous, multiple picks/prospects----perhaps its time we DEVELOP from within. In order to do that perhaps we tweak the structure they play under. The above 3 are all guys with great track records their body of work coming into the organization was tremendous.

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Old
05-29-2013, 06:46 AM
  #8
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I don't think our center dilemma is as bad as people are making it out to be.

1C=Koivu (duh) we're not going to trade him, he's there to stay.

2C=?

3C=Brodziak, he had a down year, but he is still a solid player and I'm betting he rebounds, remember people need to expect him to be a 3rd liner, for an 82 game season points wise something like ~10g and ~20 assists is fine but his +/- need to improve, basically he's got to be a better all around player like he was two previous years.

4C= Konopka/Mitchell/McMillan/Who ever not a huge issue,


Now we have a hole at 2C, this really is the big questions mark, I'm down for giving Cullen a 2year deal even at 3.5 like he was making, we can always go year by year after that. He is a good plug at 2C and can slide down to play 3rd line winger as he ages.

Beyond him it goes toward how the organization feels about its depth, Does GMCF think a full training camp and working with MiG in the off season will make him ready for number 2 duty?

Are there any dark horses for the spot (Haula) too early to tell.

For all we know we might even see a trade to bring in a center. It should be a pretty exciting off season tho.

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Old
05-29-2013, 08:48 AM
  #9
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Even thought I was originally against this idea, the more I think about it, the more I think Coyle should be tried at center. UFA class is terrible. Before you respond with his board work, ask yourself how much board work does Koivu do. The answer is A LOT.

If Coyle was moved to center, we would get use of his size and strength at two ends of the ice, not one.

This would also have the benefit of moving Granlund to wing, where I think he makes the team with Bouchard and Heatley on the way out.

Koivu-Coyle-Brodziak would be some very sizeable centers.

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Old
05-29-2013, 10:19 AM
  #10
Jarick
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Would be curious to see Coyle at center but if he doesn't take a big step from last year, you'd have two centers who don't make their linemates better.

I don't think this is the Wild's year honestly. Don't see a way they improve the center position because I don't think they'll chase Ribeiro and nobody else is top six caliber.

I think we will overpay Cullen on a multi-year deal and be pretty disappointed.

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05-29-2013, 10:25 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
Even thought I was originally against this idea, the more I think about it, the more I think Coyle should be tried at center. UFA class is terrible. Before you respond with his board work, ask yourself how much board work does Koivu do. The answer is A LOT.

If Coyle was moved to center, we would get use of his size and strength at two ends of the ice, not one.

This would also have the benefit of moving Granlund to wing, where I think he makes the team with Bouchard and Heatley on the way out.

Koivu-Coyle-Brodziak would be some very sizeable centers.
I actually agree with this. That way, they could AT LEAST TRY MiG on the wing and see if it makes any difference. I heard that they didn't want to play him on the wing because they wanted him to be the center of the future, but I Coyle would succeed there and MiG on the wing, what's the problem?

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Old
05-29-2013, 10:39 AM
  #12
nickschultzfan
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Originally Posted by Jarick View Post
Would be curious to see Coyle at center but if he doesn't take a big step from last year, you'd have two centers who don't make their linemates better.

I don't think this is the Wild's year honestly. Don't see a way they improve the center position because I don't think they'll chase Ribeiro and nobody else is top six caliber.

I think we will overpay Cullen on a multi-year deal and be pretty disappointed.
While I agree, I think the improvement would freeing up the 2 offensive wingers in the top-6. Parise, Pominville, Setoguchi, Zucker, and Granlund. You can make 2 effective winger pairings out of those 5. Yes, you still need guys to dig pucks out of the forecheck (Parise, Seto), but you wouldn't have so many stalled rushes up the ice, theoretically.

Parise-Coyle-Pominville
Granlund-Koivu-Setoguchi
Zucker-Brodziak-Mitchell

That would produce some offense and be defensively strong.

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05-29-2013, 11:52 AM
  #13
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Parise would work at center. Wouldn't want him to take the bulk of the draws, but just sayin'...

The team's center depth looks a lot better if Brodziak is playing the minutes he should be. When there's only two forwards who played the majority of the season who averaged more TOI than Brodziak, you've identified your problem.

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05-29-2013, 12:14 PM
  #14
nickschultzfan
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Parise would work at center. Wouldn't want him to take the bulk of the draws, but just sayin'...

The team's center depth looks a lot better if Brodziak is playing the minutes he should be. When there's only two forwards who played the majority of the season who averaged more TOI than Brodziak, you've identified your problem.
Well, a lot of Brodziak's "increased" minutes were from when he was NOT playing center - i.e. when he was brought on as a right-hander for faceoffs, but otherwise played wing, such as on the PP and in critical Dzone faceoffs, both even strength and PK.

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Old
05-29-2013, 12:19 PM
  #15
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Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
Well, a lot of Brodziak's "increased" minutes were from when he was NOT playing center - i.e. when he was brought on as a right-hander for faceoffs, but otherwise played wing, such as on the PP and in critical Dzone faceoffs, both even strength and PK.
And that's the problem.

He shouldn't be taking up that sort of ice time. Not only does it mean better players aren't getting on the ice, it takes a toll on him and limits his productivity in his regular shift. Put simply, there's zero reason for Brodziak to play the sort of minutes he did for this team this season. Especially when you consider they weren't hit THAT hard with injuries and had capable options to fill voids that were left...

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05-29-2013, 12:38 PM
  #16
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Originally Posted by thestonedkoala View Post
Strome is a center (and could eventually develop into a damn good one). Drop Koivu would free up 6.7 million in cap space meaning we could bring in a solid center like Derek Roy and possibly another like Valtteri Filppula. This would keep Granlund and Phillips from being rushed and give us much depth.
Emphasis on the bolded. Expecting Strome to develop into a 1st line center is a huge gamble.

Roy and Filppula have been pretty lackluster recently. You're complaining about Koivu being underwelming and aging... Yet you want to sign other underwhelming 30 year olds?

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05-29-2013, 12:44 PM
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PuckInTheNards
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We still have not developed an adequate NHL scorer since we drafted Marian Gaborik. That's 12 years without drafting a single 25 goal scorer in the NHL. How the hell can we be competitive without drafting a single goal scorer in more than a decade?

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05-29-2013, 01:00 PM
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nickschultzfan
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We still have not developed an adequate NHL scorer since we drafted Marian Gaborik. That's 12 years without drafting a single 25 goal scorer in the NHL. How the hell can we be competitive without drafting a single goal scorer in more than a decade?
While you are correct, most of that is on Riser. Thelen, Pouliot, Sheppard, Gillies, and Cuma represent 5 years of worthlessness.

Fletcher's 1st round is Leddy, Granlund, Brodin, Phillips, and Dumba. While Granlund and Phillips could go the way of Pouliot and Sheppard, Fletcher is still stockpiling top-level talent significantly better than Riser.

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05-29-2013, 01:17 PM
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To be fair, everyone but Gillies was a top-level talent at the time of the draft.

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05-29-2013, 01:43 PM
  #20
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Call me selfish because of the nickname i've had since junior high...

But sign me up for the Wild to sign Bozak as the 2C...

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05-29-2013, 01:56 PM
  #21
PuckInTheNards
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Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
While you are correct, most of that is on Riser. Thelen, Pouliot, Sheppard, Gillies, and Cuma represent 5 years of worthlessness.

Fletcher's 1st round is Leddy, Granlund, Brodin, Phillips, and Dumba. While Granlund and Phillips could go the way of Pouliot and Sheppard, Fletcher is still stockpiling top-level talent significantly better than Riser.
I know we've all been parroting that for the last couple of years but the fact remains that so far, no pick in the last 12 years has developed into a goal scorer. We hope the new guys are better (and I'm optimistic about Zucker) but Granlund's play really opened my eyes this year. Brodin's great and all but we still can't score goals.

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05-29-2013, 02:39 PM
  #22
thestonedkoala
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Originally Posted by Minnesota View Post
Roy and Filppula have been pretty lackluster recently. You're complaining about Koivu being underwelming and aging... Yet you want to sign other underwhelming 30 year olds?
For cheaper and smaller contracts until something better comes along or we can get what we have in the system developed. One of the biggest drawbacks on Koivu is his contract.

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05-29-2013, 03:18 PM
  #23
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Granlund was not drafted for being a goal scorer nor will he ever be known for his ability to score goals.

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05-29-2013, 03:26 PM
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PuckInTheNards
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Originally Posted by nickschultzfan View Post
While you are correct, most of that is on Riser. Thelen, Pouliot, Sheppard, Gillies, and Cuma represent 5 years of worthlessness.

Fletcher's 1st round is Leddy, Granlund, Brodin, Phillips, and Dumba. While Granlund and Phillips could go the way of Pouliot and Sheppard, Fletcher is still stockpiling top-level talent significantly better than Riser.
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Granlund was not drafted for being a goal scorer nor will he ever be known for his ability to score goals.
If he's a #1/#2 center in the NHL, he should be able to score a few goals. I get that he's primarily a playmaker, but he looked completely lost in the NHL this year. I'm hopeful but not optimistic about his future in the league... and he was our #1 prospect.

Replace "Goal Scorer" with "Offensive Talent" and we haven't drafted anyone who has shown legitimate offensive talent in the NHL since Mikko Koivu (unless you count Bouchard). Unless we move back into the first round this year, we're probably not getting an offensive talent in this draft either.

I'll grant you that Coyle and Zucker both looked like they were improving at the end of the year.

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05-29-2013, 04:08 PM
  #25
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Granlund was not drafted for being a goal scorer nor will he ever be known for his ability to score goals.
He does have a very nice wrister tho, and hopefully will develope his game in the future to use that more, scoring clutch/big goals.

but i agree, he reminds me alot of Ribero with out the exp, and skating ability(yet).

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