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I was reminded again this morning, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, that the Wild are just four points out of the eight spot, and a berth into the playoffs. While this example was merely a joke, it is clear that too many people out there still see the Wild as a team in playoff contention.
It is dangerous because those beliefs are build on the NHL's convoluted system of using points rather than wins and losses to determine who the playoff teams are. It makes things look much closer than they are. Why would they do that? To keep you interested, that's why.
Since we started this weekly standings post the Wild have been in 10th (0 points back), 10th (1 point back), 13th (3 points back), 13th (four points back), and 13th (six points back). This week they come in at: 13th (four points back).
Those four points looking a bit bigger yet?
Breaking it down, the Wild can rocket themselves into the third seed by beating the rest of the division. How close are they to claiming the Northwest crown? About as close as I am to claiming the crown of Norway. Let's just say that with as far out as four points is, the ten points separating them from the NW crown should give you an idea of just how unlikely this scenario is.
Unless the league bans the Canucks from play, and the Avalanche move to Italy, the Wild are not going to win the Northwest.
As discussed above, in the past six weeks, the Wild have dropped to 13th and not moved since. Any confidence fans had in them to move up should have just about been dashed when they could not beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team directly above them in the standings. If you cannot beat the teams that are circling the drain with you, you have little hope of leap frogging those ahead of you in the standings.
The sooner the realization is made that the Wild are out of contention, the sooner they can begin preparations for next season, starting with some trades to secure more draft picks.
National Hockey League
The only reason we look at the NHL overall standings is to determine where the Wild would draft should the draft be held today. The easy answer is: At the Xcel Energey Center. The painful answer is that the Wild would draft tenth. In other words, not a high enough pick to make an immediate impact, but not so low that it is a crap shoot.
Enough tenth overall picks could eventually make this a very good team. That is, if Chuck Fletcher is better than the previous administration at drafting. Otherwise, drafting mid round simply ties a team into the mediocrity the Wild is currently stuck in.
No one wants that.