A 3-0 shutout loss in Dallas – the fourth shutout loss in the final six games – is how the Minnesota Wild enter the offseason as they missed the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.
Defenseman Ryan Suter wasn't alone when addressing Minnesota's lack of scoring ability during postgame media scrums, his first without a trip to the playoffs since he and Zach Parise signed massive contracts in the summer of 2012.
"We have to change something because what we have is not working," said Suter, via Wild.com. "We do have guys out, some guys that have scored a lot of goals in the league, that's a bright spot. We've got a lot of young guys with a lot of potential and a good summer of training and knowing that they're going to be on the team I think will help. We can't keep going the way we've been going."
As BMTN's Declan Goff wrote Friday, the Wild has about $15 million in cap space and is in serious need of a player or two who can score. Two names who could test free agency are Minnesota natives Anders Lee and Brock Nelson, both of whom have been very good finishers around the net for the New York Islanders and would be fantastic fits in Minnesota.
Jason Zucker, who had a down year after a career season in 2017-18, said Saturday that if the goal-scoring issues aren't' addressed this offseason "then we have problems."
Free agency is the most likely place the Wild can find some more productive offensive players, and they'll also get Matt Dumba back from a season-ending pectoral injury. Remember, Dumba was leading all NHL defensemen with 12 goals when he got hurt in December.
The other chance Minnesota has to land an impact player is via the NHL Draft, and they'll find out where they pick during Tuesday's draft lottery. If the Wild doesn't get lucky in the lottery, they're most likely to pick 11th. But they do have a 9.8% chance to land a top-three pick, who could possibly jump into the lineup day one and start scoring goals.
It's a bit of a pipe dream, but anything is possible on lotto night.
Boudreau's job safe?
Coaching changes are always possible in a non-playoff season, but there hasn't been any indication publicly that head coach Bruce Boudreau's job is in danger.
“I’m a guy, I don’t think, that has failed in most things that I’ve been given, so to miss the playoffs, it’s a bad taste in your mouth and you want to come back and make amends. So, I hope I’m back," Boudreau told The Athletic (paywall) this week.
Michael Russo of The Athletic is reporting that Boudreau is owner Craig Leipold's guy, so Boudreau not being back on the bench would likely require one of three scenarios playing out:
- GM Paul Fenton convinces Leipold a move needs to be made.
- Boudreau and Fenton decide they can't work together.
- Leipold, Fenton don't agree to potential contract extension demands from Boudreau and his agent.
Time will tell, but Boudreau wants to be back next season.