The Minnesota Wild had a tumultous summer. Losing Brian Rolston, Pavol Demetria, and Mark Parrish really put a dent in the Wild's scoring punch. Couple that with the ever-present question of Gaborik's injuries, along with the question of how much longer he's even going to be here.
But it looks like Andrew Brunette returns to Minnesota as a solid first-line player with Koivu and Gaborik. "Old-Man" Owen Nolan looked great in the one pre-season game I attended against Buffalo. He's got a lot of fight in him in front of the net and at the boards. And he still can get some speed on a shot.
I have more confidence in the blue line. Brent Burns will be a star, and Kim Johnsson finally showed some improvement. It remains to be seen what effect the new guys will have, and if Skoula will ever reach expectations.
So even though the Wild have lost a lot they seem to have a lot going for them going into this winter. Also going for them, it doesn't seem like a lot of the teams below Minnesota last year have done alot to improve their situation, which is why I again picked them to finish 3rd in the West :). But not a lot can go wrong for them this year, if they're going to stay on the level of last season.