Part four of this ongoing series breaking down the scoring lines and depth options.
Note: Take the line combos with a grain of salt. They are just arbitrary and are used primarily to separate a team's top-six from the bottom-six. I really don't want to get into arguments about player X had chemistry with player Y therefore they'll be on a line together during the season.
Minnesota – Top-five fairly locked faces slight competition from cavalry
Devin Setoguchi – Mikko Koivu – Dany Heatley
Guillaume Latendresse – Matt Cullen – P.M. Bouchard
Cal Clutterbuck, Kyle Brodziak, Casey Wellman, James Sheppard
Eric Nystrom, Darryl Powe, Colton Gillies, and Brad Staubitz.
Minnesota's top-six heading into 2010-11 will be completely revamped with all of the off-season movement this summer. Koivu has always been a point-per-game threat, but with Heater and Seto as his line mates, you would think that he has a great shot at finally surpassing that elusive 80-point plateau. Heatley is an interesting case, with many polarizing opinions on his fantasy worth. He has been kind of been shafted the last couple of seasons in SJ, (offensive depth), and in Ottawa, (coaching due to on/off ice attitude), but he'll pretty much run out of excuses with Minny this campaign. If you've bought the guide, then you've probably read my stance on Seto. Now that he has more control of his production, look for him to breakout.
After Koivu and Marek Zidlicky, Cullen picked up the third-most PP TOI in Minny last campaign, which resulted in a surprising 21 points on the man advantage (tied for 48th in the league). The Wild don't have a lot of puck-moving defensive options, so Cullen should have a great shot at manning the opposite point of Zidlicky on the top PP unit. Look for a 40-45 point season from him. Latendresse was heavily criticized earlier this off-season by GM Chuck Fletcher, so it'll be interesting to how he responds with his new workout regime initiated. Bouchard completely flew under-the-radar last campaign as he missed most of the first-half dealing with concussion symptoms, but returned to rattle off 38 points in the final 59 contests (pro-rated to 52 points). He could make a great sleeper candidate for 2011-12.
There's not a lot that you can complain about Clutterbuck's fantasy worth. He led the league in HITs with 336 while also chipping in with 34 points, 79 PIMs and 191 SOG. If you're looking for a multi-cat monster, you don't have to look much further than Clutter.
Last year's pre-season top-six:
Brunette, Koivu, Miettinen, Latendresse, Cullen and Havlat
End of year finish: