Christmas is only a few days away and the Minnesota Wild has plenty of things to include on its wish list.
The Wild is near the top, and at one point recently was at the top, of the National Hockey League, but there are still things it can include on its Christmas wish list.
At top of the Wild’s list should be good health. The Wild have dealt with injuries all season long, but have been hit extremely hard in recent weeks.
Captain Mikko Koivu has missed already missed three games and is doubtful for Thursday contest in Edmonton. Guillaume Latendresse has missed 18 games and looks to be out for quite a bit longer. Devin Setoguchi has missed seven games with no time table for a return.
That is three of the top six forwards from the season-opening lineup, all missing at the same time.
The Wild must find a way to stop its longest losing streak of the season as it continues a critical stretch of the season.
Next on the list would be to get Marek Zidlicky in the scoring column. The highly-paid offensive defenseman got out to a disappointing start to the season. His game started to pick up before suffering a head injury, which forced him to miss nearly a month (13 games). In the six games before the injury (excluding the game he was injured in because he played only five shifts for three minutes and 23 seconds), he had four assists. Since returning from the injury, he has been held off the score sheet and has been just an average defenseman.
He was signed to provide offense from the blue line, but has only recorded no goals and six assists in 22 games this season.
Finally on the list is to get the go-to scorers scoring. Dany Heatley has nine goals (tied for second on the team). Koivu has eight goals (tied for fifth). Setoguchi has eight goals (tied for fifth). Latendresse has five goals (eighth).
They are on pace to finish with 21 (Heatley), 19.5 (Koivu), 21 (Setoguchi) and 19 (Latendresse) goals, respectively.
That is assuming Heatley plays all 47 remaining games this season and the other three players play the remaining 46 games after the Holiday break. However, it is unlikely that they (Setoguchi and Latendresse) will play that many. In Latendresse’s case, he may not play half the remaining 47 games.
The Wild rank 28th in the NHL in goals scored per game. The lack of goal scoring production has caught up with the Wild.