Here's a list of my top picks for the Wild to pursue this offseason.
1) Jason Blake
A few things stand out in my mind when I look at Jason Blake. First, obviously, that he was a 40 goal scorer last season with the Islanders and led them in points with 69, but also that he played at a +1 for them over all 82 games. Blake is a ferocious forechecker and, over the past few seasons, has greatly improved his defensive play. He's small, but doesn't play like it, with 61 hits last year, which is only about 30 less than the leader on the Wild (who didn't even play most of the season with us). He's got great vision and good hands. The only question mark would be whether or not his increased output last year was an abboration or will he be a consistent 40 goal scorer.
2) Slava Kozlov
The biggest question mark surrounding Kozlov, to me, is his age. Last year he had a career year and, judging by his career, he can be counted on to be a 20 goal scorer and a 60-70 point man. He has a great deal of experience, and a tremendous amount of playoff experience that the Wild could benefit greatly from. His career year last year was no doubt in part due to playing with two of the game's most prolific offensive players in Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk. Switching to the Wild would not be much of a switch, however, because he would hopefully be playing with a healthy Marian Gaborik and a healthy Pavol Demitra. Averaging just about a point per game last season, Kozlov is a tempting choice for the Wild.
3) Todd Bertuzzi
I know many Wild fans (if not all) are going to disagree with me on this one, but take a second to think about this one. The biggest problem that the Wild had over the season and during the playoffs was grit and that is one thing that Big Bert brings in spades. If there's one thing that Lemaire is great at, it's getting the best out of all of his players and Bertuzzi is a player that would be a project. If Lemaire can get him to play mean again (not dirty, but hitting, digging pucks out of the corner, intimidating) he would be a fantastic pick up for the team. BUT, he would be a project, and I don't think that's what the Wild are looking for at the moment.
4) Bill Guerin
Guerin has a lot going for him in terms of the Wild. He's played under Lemaire before, he's played with Rolston and Parrish before and he's got a great deal of experience. He proved last year that he still had a lot left in the tanks, scoring 36 goals, and he's the prototypical power forward, which we don't have a lot of. He doesn't have a lot of years left in him, I don't think, but he would help our depth and our leadership tremendously.