Blue Chip Players
Team USA head coach Herb Brooks once said that “great moments come from great opportunities.” The ultimate difference between good teams and great teams is the amount of talent on the ice and how that talent is utilized. From a spectators perspective, it can be easily identified who are the stars on the team and who the role players are. When the game is on the line, you want the ball in your superstar’s hands, or in this case the puck on their stick.
The Minnesota Wild are comprised of several “red chip” players and many depth role players. Red chip players are just below blue chip, meaning they are very good but not elite. The Wild have proven all year that they will be a fast, hard working team that will not be easy to play against but they will be game planning around other teams with stars, not vice versa.
Who knows, it’s possible a blue chip player emerges in the playoffs for the Wild but up to this point nobody on their team has shown elite skill. It’s also possible that the Wild make a big trade for elite talent which could change a lot. But until they establish those players, it will be hard to win close playoff games.
In conclusion, the Wild are a very very good hockey team right now. They have assembled their team right by building through the draft, but the lack of elite talent, coaching success, and team leadership will prevent them from winning a Stanley Cup trophy.
Could they beat the Blackhawks? Absolutely. But getting out of the central division is just the first step. The Blues found that out the hard way last year when they lost to the Sharks in the Conference Final. The Blackhawks took them to 7 games in the 1st round and definitely took a lot out of the Blues.
Right now , the Wild are to me what the Washington Capitals have been the last few years. They’re a great regular season team built to win but they need to prove it.
Win the big one and I’ll stand corrected.