|Photo: Rob Carr|
Last year, the Wild had tremendous success in the shootout thanks to the addition of Zach Parise. Parise brought a goal scoring skill set that the Wild have not seen since the likes of Marian Gaborik roamed these parts, but even he was not great in the shootouts.
Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Matt Cullen formed what could have been the best shootout lineup in all of hockey in the 48 game shortened season. It was just those three who took all shootout attempts for the team, and they never needed more than three rounds to decide the shootout. To prove their superiority, here are their shootout stats (Note: GDG-Game Deciding Goals):
Zach Parise: 3-6 (50%)
Mikko Koivu: 3-6 (50%) 2 GDG
Matt Cullen: 3-3 (100%) 2 GDG
TOTAL: 9-15 (60%)
Wild record in shootouts: 4-2
As you can see, the team was able to take the extra point four out of six times. Those four extra points paid tremendous dividends as the Wild were able to get in the playoffs on a tiebreaker technicality after tying Columbus for the eighth seed in the West.
Turning the page to 2013-14, we are seeing a much different story in the three shootouts the Wild have played in:
Zach Parise: 0-2 (0%)
Mikko Koivu: 0-3 (0%)
Jason Pominville: 0-1 (0%)
Charlie Coyle: 0-1 (0%)
TOTAL: 0-7 (0%)
Wild record in shootouts: 0-3
Not a glorious start to the season in terms of shootouts. Parise and Koivu, who are usually the first two Wild shooters, have not scored. Meanwhile the third shooter has not been set in stone yet as Jason Pominville and Charlie Coyle have each been given one chance but to no success.
This is not a big cause for concern, yet, since we are just a month and change into the season. But should this slump continue on it will definitely be concerning since we all know how crucial that extra point is come April.
Just something to think on as the Wild spend the day playing basketball in North Carolina...
Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell