Last season the defense of the Minnesota Wild was the best in the league allowing a league-low 184 goals against, seven less than the nearest team (Detroit). So what could the league's best defense do this off-season? Well the first thing they did do was sign their worst defenseman (Martin Skoula) to a two year deal, giving us two more years of a weak link. Then they add more depth to the team by signing veteran Sean Hill to a one year contract. With two more defensemen still not signed by the Wild they've already got seven serviceable defensemen.
Now the Wild need to sign two more defensemen; one being Nick Schultz a 24-year-old who has only missed six games in the past three seasons with the Wild and has shown steady improvement and has earned a raise in the opinions of many Wild fans. The other is Kurtis Foster, who is most likely the odd man out for the Wild this season. Foster has looked good on the power play for the Wild over the two seasons he has spent with the Wild and has a slap shot worth writing home about.
As you noticed I said we already have seven defensemen, and I mean that whole-heartedly. Shawn Belle played in nine games for the Wild last year, but was all we heard about last pre-season as he dominated in the seven pre-season games. Then we have overpaid Kim Johnsson, veteran Keith Carney, future star Brent Burns, and the aging Petteri Nummelin.
For a quick Recap:
Nick Schultz (RFA)
Kurtis Foster (RFA)
I have to sit and look at that several times to think about what the Wild plan to do, but I still think something has to give. and I think it should be the Wild finding a new home for Martin Skoula, and then moving Belle up to the eighth defensemen. Skoula would be a good fit for a lot of teams out East who deal with a lot more of an offense game where Skoula's offense talents might be more useful. However, the Wild did just sign him so I doubt anything will happen and next year we'll be heading in with quite the crowd on defense.