The Minnesota Wild upgraded its talent and depth last offseason with free agents and first-year prospects.
However, through 10 games, the Wild are 4-5-1 and has scored 2.2 goals per game (one of the five worst in the league).
The Wild, despite missing the playoffs for four straight season, are quickly becoming one of the bigger disappointments in the NHL.
Forget the defending champion Los Angeles Kings' 3-4-2 record or former Gopher Phil Kessel's surprising lack of a goal this season, nothing has been worse than the Wild's fall from the league's best record just 14 months ago to where it is now. The only exception may be the Washington Capitals, who have just five points (2-8-1) this season.
Thursday's game against the Vancouver Canucks was just the latest tale of frustration and demise.
The Wild have now lost three straight games, but have yet to have a good game this season.
That begs the question, how does it change?
Here is the seven step program for the Wild
Step No. 1 - Move your feet.
The Wild are caught flat footed or standing around too much. By simply moving your feet you can force mistakes and are harder to defend.
Step No. 2 - Don't wait for something to happen. Make something happen.
The Wild are waiting and hoping a break goes their way in games. When the feet are moving, it becomes a lot easier to win battles or races for loose pucks. When the puck is on a Wild players' stick, there is a chance it will score. When the puck is on an opponent's stick, there is a chance they will score.
Step No. 3 - Pressure the opposition
I have not seen a more passive team than the Wild. The Wild give its opponent space, especially when setting up the "trap". Simply put: See puck, get puck. When the puck gets dumped into the offensive zone, go get it.
Step No. 4 - Don't be predictable
I noticed in two games (the Feb. 1 loss at the Anaheim Ducks and Thursday's loss to the Canucks) that the opposition had a player in the Wild defensemen's passing lane to start a breakout. The opposition takes away the strong side wing and the Wild cannot get out of its own end.
Step No. 5 - Keep the puck
When the Wild get into trouble, and often it is felt, but not there, they just bang the puck off the boards. The result is a turnover and the opposition is right back on the attack. It is okay to backtrack when the opposition has taken away a lane. My belief is the best defense is a good offense. Almost never has a team given up a goal when in possession of the puck.
Step No. 6 - Shoot to score, not to shoot
Far too often, we hear that the Wild needs to get more shots on net. The Wild are trying that's for sure. They are taking more shots, but they are just trying to get shots on goal. The opposition knows that they are shooting on goal and blocks the shot. The other problem is that the shots are sent right to the middle of the net. When a puck hits a goaltender in the stomach, it is not coming out. A frozen puck tempers any momentum gained by a forecheck. Shots cannot be at the middle of the net. They need to be taken toward the edges of the net.
Step No. 7 - Attack the net
There are two ways to do this. First, shooters have to be moving toward the net. By doing this the shooter can get more power on the shot and catch a goaltender off guard. Second, get traffic to the top of the crease. Creating havoc can make a goaltender uncomfortable or get a deflection. An uncomfortable goaltender will allow some soft goals.
Mike Yeo mentioned "a mindset" and play "a certain way" during his post game press conference Thursday. The Wild currently do not have the mindset to score more goals.