Everything Else

Giles Ferrell writes for ZoneCoverage.com and hosts the weekly Giles and The Goalie podcast. Follow him on Twitter @gilesferrell. 

The Wild find themselves kind of in the same predicament as the Hawks. Can’t seem to get off the ground for more than a game or two in a row but also don’t lose enough to fall out of it. What’s the biggest problem of late?
Finding their identity. Minnesota has none and we are over halfway in the season. They have been hurt for a large chunk of the season and now they have a full roster so there is hope they will find their stride. Now with that said, they looked to be hitting the mark last week before they went into Colorado and had the crap absolutely kicked out of them. 

Why is Zach Parise skating on what appears to be a third line? Or is Eriksson Ek the best center for him and that’s just how it goes?
More of that has to do with the fact Parise missed half the season with a back injury. Once he gets back up to full speed, it would not surprise me in the slightest to see him get bumped up to the top six. But for now, the hope is he can ignite Eriksson Ek – Minnesota’s 2015 first round pick who is on pace for two goals this year. 

Devan Dubnyk had a .940 in December. Despite getting blasted in Colorado last Saturday, do you feel like he’s rounding back into what you’re used to seeing?
No doubt Dubnyk is coming back into form that Minnesota has known him to be. He has been inconsistent most of the year, but right before he went down with an injury he started to right the ship. Since his return he has picked up right where he left off – sans the Colorado game – and perhaps that has to do with his backup Alex Stalock pushing for more game time with his good play this year. 

Is Jason Zucker or Matt Dumba pricing themselves out of a return to Minnesota this summer? Or can they shift some things around and make it ok?
A month ago I would have said Zucker might be a guy the Wild move because he might simply cost too much, but now a month long drought has brought his next contract back down to earth. After a torrid October, Dumba has been lighting it up and will probably be a very expensive signing for the Wild this offseason, being he can score and is a right shot. Dumba’s trade value come summer might be sky high, but it would be a crippling blow to the Wild blue line if they moved him.What will the Wild be looking to do before the deadline?

Wild fans cringe at the fact that GM Chuck Fletcher has a first round pick at his disposal to use, and he is reportedly in the final year of his contract. He did so last year, and that yielded one lousy playoff win for his team. I’m not sure the Wild will do much of anything before the deadline. The prospect cupboard is getting bare, they are right on the cap, and they might have a few internal options in the AHL they would try instead of making a move. Maybe they will get a bottom six player at the deadline, but otherwise Minnesota might be more inclined to stand pat.