Deadspin buries Minnesota Wild

Rookie Erik Haula, 23, a first-year pro, has given the Minnesota Wild a push in the postseason. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Minnesota Wild haven’t been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, but Deadspin isn’t letting that fact stop it from shoveling dirt on the squad.

Writer Ryan Lambert takes the team to task for signing Zach Parise and Ryan Sutter in the off-season last year.

“Instead of just missing the postseason, the Wild are primed to bow out early in the playoffs for years to come, and that’s technically an improvement,” he writes today.

Make no mistake, the Wild are now a perfectly credible NHL team and if that’s all you want to be, then by all means go for it. But the fact that they’re spending more than $15 million against the salary cap per season (about 21 percent of next year’s projected $70 million ceiling) on Parise and Suter screams that they don’t really know how to spend money at all. Pittsburgh, for example, is only spending about $2.3 million more per year for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Chicago is paying about $2.4 million less for Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Los Angeles is getting Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty for roughly $1.2 million less. And so on.

Most teams that are legitimate Cup contenders do not get there by signing big-name free agents. Boston’s contract for Zdeno Chara (the best defenseman of his generation) and Chicago’s for Marian Hossa (one of the most underrated great talents of the last 15 years, who should one day head to the Hall of Fame, but who serves in a largely complementary role with the Blackhawks) are the exceptions to this rule. For the most part you win by drafting and developing top-level players, and occasionally trading for them. The corollary: Teams that spend this kind of major cash on free agents tend not to have it go very well for them.

He’s right, sort of. But most teams don’t lose their top three goaltenders to injury or multiple sclerosis, either.

“All they’ve done is elevate the Wild from yearly playoff-misser to yearly playoff fodder,” he writes.

Under Lambert’s theory, if the Wild were a bad team, they’d be able to draft better players. But ask anyone in Minnesota how that’s worked out over the years of watching other teams in the playoffs.

And ask them whether they’re having any fun in May for a change.

  • MrE85

    No one should trash talk a team that made the playoffs. Especially one that’s still in the playoffs.

    • He’s from Boston. You know how THOSE people are.

    • Dave

      Yeah, especially in a league where the majority of teams make it into their watered-down playoffs that never end.

      • Like the NBA?

  • boB from WA

    Deadspin is not the only ones’ who’ve “written off” the Wild, but Sean McIndoe in Grantland also gives a compelling case as to why some teams seem to be in the playoffs year after year:

    Disclosure: even though I’m a die hard Red Wings fan, my time in MN has given me an appreciation for the “State of Hockey”, and so consequently am rooting for the Wild.

    • Minnesota sports is all about the “take a dive” mentality, especially among the fans. During last season, I recall vitriol on Twitter because the Vikings were winning a ballgame and would miss out on Teddy Bridgewater.

      You know what creates a losing culture? Losing. You can turn anything around until you get rid of that culture.

      • kevinfromminneapolis

        Witness: Cubs, Chicago.

        • And for 49 years – Blackhawks, Chicago.

  • andy

    The playoff fodder here in Chicago’s sports radio world have also written off the Wild. They assume it will go to 7 games, but they’re 100% confident that the Hawks will win the series. I bet Colorado felt the same way…..

  • Greg W

    Ryan Lambert article about the Wild and how terrible they are and/or wasting their money. Must be Monday.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    I’m not a hockey expert, but it feels like the Wild are a goal scorer and a steady goalie away from being able to pull a seed in the upper half.

    (The writer is also basically describing the Twins from 2001-2010).

    • IMHO, you are correct in your observations…

  • J-Corn

    Some teams don’t totally bottom out so they can draft guys like Malkin and Crosby year after year and have them playing under their first/second contracts either. But apparently being an abject failure for a few years is now the preferred method to behave.

    Or do people forget the desperation required to even keep the Penguins afloat and in Pittsburgh?