Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cleanout Day Recap

Yesterday a couple of Wild players and the GM Chuck Fletcher met with the media as the took part on the team's cleanout day. Here is the video of each of them followed by a few thoughts.

Chuck Fletcher

Fletcher really couldn't stop singing the praises of the team and coaching staff. He said the team grew by "leaps and bounds" this season. He also made it abundantly clear that Mike Yeo is the coach of the team going forward. The two will most likely sit down next week and hammer out a new deal for Yeo, who's contract is up in June.

Other thoughts from GMCF's presser include:

  • He really gave Ilya Bryzgalov a vote of confidence. He said that despite the Game One performance against Colorado, Bryz was solid and gave the team every chance necessary to win each hockey game. He is right in that regard.
  • Fletcher commented on the future of Jason Zucker, who is a RFA this summer, by pretty much saying he will be back next year that they expect big things from him. Zucker was up and down this season before an injury derailed this season. Imagine if him and Erik Haula were able to be on a line together.
  • When asked about Josh Harding's health for next year, Fletcher indicated that there is a good chance Josh be on the active roster to open the season. He noted that obviously the doctors will have a say in this too, but all hopes are that Harding will be 100% to open the season. Fletcher also said its a real possibility the team rolls with three goalies next season. That's a pretty interesting approach, if it becomes true.
  • With the expiring contracts this summer, Fletcher said that he had to be looking to save up cap space for the young kids, when their rookie deals expire.This year's RFAs include Nino Niederreiter, Zucker, and Justin Fontain. Next year will see Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, and Erik Haula be RFAs. That may have just sealed the fate for the Wild targeting high priced free agents (*looks squarely at Thomas Vanek*).

Charlie Coyle

Charlie took no excuses in the fact he was playing with two separated shoulders. He noted that everyone is battling with something this time of year, and that he just kept going on through those injuries. Looking forward to next year, Coyle said he needs more consistency in his game and will try and use the physical play he carried at the end of the year to help him achieve that consistency.

Nino Niederreiter

When asked about the young guys on the team, Nino commented on how close they were and said that they all pushed each other to get better. He then went on to look at where his game has come in the past year, and had nothing but great things to say about the Wild for giving him this chance after spending all of 2012-13 in the minors for New York. Nino said there was some learning for him this year but still wants to be a goal scorer in this league and will work towards that goal in the offseason.

Mikael Granlund

There was not a lot here from Finnish Baby Jesus (FBJ). All he stressed was that he needs to be better this offseason. He specifically pointed out skating and puck battles as key spots to where he wants to improve. He also noted that his concussions were a thing of the past.

Overall, there was a common theme in all these interviews. Everyone touched on how this really was a team effort and how this team was totally bought in to the system. Coyle noted how there really was no cancer in the clubhouse and credited Fletcher and Yeo for creating that kind of atmosphere. 

That is a big reason why one should not expect a lot of changes to this team going into next year. Give this team the offseason to rest and train, and they can come back guns blazing next year with a majority of the club having a season together already. The past few seasons have opened with a lot of roster turnover from the previous year, but clearly that will not be the case next year.

Enough from me, go outside and enjoy your Saturday.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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