The Wild West – Ranking the Western Conference Teams – Part Two

Grant Campbell

2022-08-29

Last week saw Phil Kessel sign with Vegas, which might improve their roster a little and Paul Stastny sign in Carolina. The number of free agents still available is dwindling and those remaining won't improve a roster that significantly. Here is my look at the remaining top eight teams in the West and how they rank in my mind.

On the Inside Bubble

#8 – Minnesota Wild

The Wild traded two key players in Kevin Fiala and Cam Talbot. In return for Fiala, they received Brock Faber and the Kings' 1st round pick in 2022 which turned into Liam Ohgren. Talbot was sent to Ottawa for Filip Gustavsson so the team got younger by 11 years and saved about $3 million in salary.

The team is counting on youngsters Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi to contribute this season as top-six forwards. Boldy was very impressive in 47 games last year where he had 15 goals and 24 assists with the Wild while Rossi had 53 points in 63 games in the AHL.  Even though Ryan Hartman had an impressive year in 2021-22 with 34 goals and 31 assists in 82 games, I wouldn't consider him a true number one center compared to other rosters in the West.

Where the Wild lack in top-end down the middle they make up for it with depth as Hartman, Frederick Gaudreau, Joel Eriksson Ek, Tyson Jost and perhaps Rossi make up a pretty impressive five.

Not to be overly simplistic, but if Kirill Kaprizov misses more than 20 games next season, the Wild could find themselves on the outside of the bubble. That is how important he is to this team.

On defense, the Wild are still slightly above average as a group but not as strong as they have been. They are led by Jared Spurgeon, Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin and Alex Goligoski. Dumba will be unrestricted at the end of t