The Minnesota Wild are on the cusp of becoming officially eliminated from the playoffs, but realistically the playoff dream ended long ago.
Wild fans still have things to watch that will leave clues to the future of the team.
Here are three things to watch.
The Playing Time of Matt Hackett
The more Hackett plays, the quicker it appears he will be the No. 1 goaltender.
Harding is an unrestricted free agent this summer and Backstrom is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
It appears Hackett will be the full-time starter within the next two seasons. If Hackett plays the majority of the games remaining this season, he will most likely be the backup next season. If he is returned to the Houston Aeros, he will probably play another season in Houston.
Cohesion between the defensemen and forwards
Since the trade deadline, the Wild have made a lot of defensive mistakes. Most of them involve miscommunication or a misunderstanding.
The defensive pairing sometimes run two different systems and the forwards don’t always cover for defensemen when they join the offense.
The forward lines have been scrambled so much that there is cohesion issues there as well.
Chemistry may be a big part of the problem, but I have never seen an NHL team so bad at giving and receiving passes.
Rarely do the Wild make tape-to-tape passes.
The passes are either in the skates of the recipient, way too far in front, intercepted by the defense or bounce off the recipients stick for a turnover.