November 23, 2011

The Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild are the Wild Childs of the Northwest Division of the NHL

Youth is key when the GMs of the NHL plan the future of their teams in a 3-5 year time horizon.  They look for players that they can draft, develop and keep.  Recent examples include the success of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.  

Sometimes the potential of youth flourishes unexpectedly and the hometown fans are treated to breakout seasons which signal the start of something special.   The Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild could soon find themselves in the same company as the Pens and Bolts.  The Oil and Wild are young and aggressive teams which are showing real signs of developing into powerhouses. 

The 2011-2012 Edmonton Oilers have brought back respectability to Alberta's capital city.  Not since Gretzky and Messier have Oilers fans been so pumped up.    Eberle, Hall, and Nugent Hopkins are making the Oilers look like a dynasty in the making.  This kind of foundation (if kept intact) could mean a Stanley Cup for Edmonton in the next few years.  It is a bold statement but we like to pride ourselves on thinking out of the box.  We saw the potential for the Oil, early on this year, when all others discounted them and predicted another disappointing campaign.

Once the winning tradition firmly takes grip in Edmonton , again, the city will become a magnate for free agents and other veterans who will want to play for an upcoming team with a genuine shot at the NHL's top prize.  A Stanley Cup victory in Edmonton would be a kick in the pants for all Canadian squads but heck they deserve it.  Edmonton has suffered through some really bad years but the tide has definitely changed in the other direction.

Minnesota has got a great hockey tradition just like Edmonton.  Just like Edmonton they are off to a surprising start.  Josh Harding is the key to the Wild team and one the games upcoming net minders.  The guy is a rock and at only 27 years; he could be the go to guy in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.   He is 2nd in GAA and 1st in Save %.  This guy has taken his team from doormats in the NHL to the top spot in their division.  Eat your heart out Vancouver !!! Of course the addition of Setoguchi and Heatley has helped out , large.  We see good things ahead for the Wild.  They are young , well coached, and play in a solid hockey market.  If they keep up the winning pace; they will replace the memories of Bobby Smith and Dino Ciccarelli with stories about Harding and Heatley.  It is about time the Twin Cities see a winner on NHL ice.  It has been way to long !!!

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