by PuckStopsHere on 07/20/12 at 02:09 PM ET
Earlier this week I posted the team Corsi ratings from 2011/12. This is the difference between shots attempted (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots) that a team takes and their opponents take in five on five situations. This is a strong measure of a team’s puck possession ability and is a significant repeatable portion of a team’s success or failure. Should a team’s Corsi rating not be inline with their standing in the 2011/12 season it is quite likely that they will regress to that level in the future.
The worst team by Corsi rating last season was the Minnesota Wild. They posted a -802 rating. This is more than twice the second worst rating posted in the league. The best teams posted a mid +600’s for their Corsi. Minnesota was bad at puck possession and they were bad by a significant margin.
Last season the Wild had a remarkably strong start. They were in first place in the league in late November. Then things came tumbling down and they finished in 12th place in the West Conference with 81 points. Given the way the season ended I would have thought Minnesota was a contender to finish in last place in the 2012/13 season. They are largely a team without direction. Under coach Jacques Lemaire they had been a very tough defensive team to play against. Coach Mike Yeo has not managed to organize his team into such a strong defensive system.
The big change in the Wild’s situation occurred because of free agency. They signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to 13 year deals. These were the most significant free agents available this summer.
The question to ask is how much of a change will that make to the success of the Wild organization. Can you add two players and turn everything around? This is a questionable idea. In a best case Parise and Suter will make a big impact and existing talented player like Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu will have strong seasons and the Wild will be a strong playoff team. It is much more likely that they do not take as big a step forward. Minnesota may make the playoffs in a lower seed. It is also quite possible that they fall short of that goal. It is quite possible that the Wild remain a non-contender despite making a big splash via free agency. In signing Parise and Suter, GM Chuck Fletcher may have gotten himself fired. If the team doesn’t make a significant improvement and become a playoff team, their signings could lead to his downfall. The Wild have a long way to go to be a solid NHL team. It might be that two big signings are not enough to do it.
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