[b]After futile second half, Wild Have Tame Off-season[/b]
Despite a long-overdue injection of actual live humans into the front office in February, the wheels of the sausage-making process by which professional sports franchises are managed seemed content to grind into neutral, warm the engine and see how the rest of the season played out. It did, at that, and the Wild stayed on the course they set out on, in draft lottery territory but not so bad the tides of fate saw fit to award them the big prize.
Management was not completely idle-- All-star defender Ivan Provorov was sent down to Sunrise in exchange for the stout-but-unremarkable Ryan Pilon, Prospect Evan Vierling and a 1st in 2024. The Blues sent over Kristian Vesalainen in a swap of tweeners, the big-boned Finn contributing 6 points in 30 games to end the season with the Wild. Incumbent starter Calvin Pickard, on an expiring deal, was sent 1-for-1 to the Sens for Dylan Wells, the 25 year old netminder more or less took over the starting job for the remainder of the campaign.
So the Wild finished 25th. Alexis Lafreni??re matched his rookie season, tallying a team-leading 30 goals. Provorov's exit seemed to cripple the team's transition game, Alexei Marchenko not quite up to the task without his blueline partner. Staring at the final tally of player stats is trying to glean an upside is an excruciating exercise in spin.
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