For the Minnesota Wild I think the biggest goal in adding depth to the team is pretty simple; Don’t disrupt the chemistry. Offensively, and even at defense they don’t have a single current NHL superstar. Eric Staal once held that status, Ryan Suter probably should hold that status, and Zach Parise spent several years right on the cusp of superstardom, Mikko Koivu has been largely ignored in his career.
Hanzal at 30 will have all the things he should need to contribute without disrupting the locker room:
- motivation to perform as he’s a UFA
- the opportunity to play on a team that is easily the best of his pro career going into the playoffs.
- no need to do everything
- guys happy to see him because of what he brings
On top of that, being that Minnesota is a medium or small market, he won’t face the galactic size culture shock of going someplace like Montreal, Toronto, or one of the big cities where you not only have all the pressure of playing and winning but are likely to be set upon by fans, media, and traveling rival fans at any given moment. The Twin Cities are sure as heck going to be colder for the next few months than the greater Phoenix area, but playing hard and long shift will keep him warm. Not to mention the hope of a Cup playing for what is quite likely the most consistently good team of the year out west.
Win or lose in the playoffs, how he does for individual stats will greatly impact the number of teams, and number of dollars he is offered in July when he hits UFA status.