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Guerin Confirms Players Start Season
Photo credit: Jean Pieri/Pioneer Press/TNS

BILL GUERIN CONFIRMS TWO KEY PLAYERS TO MISS START OF SEASON

SEP 22, 2022  (14H25)      JON
Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin confirmed today that forward Jordan Greenway and defenseman Jon Merrill will miss the start of the 2022-23 season, per Michael Russo of The Athletic:


Greenway, 25, has emerged as a permanent fixture in Minnesota's forward group, but he has yet to live up to the hype he brought when he was drafted 50th overall by the Wild in 2015. After posting 92 points in 112 games for Boston University, Greenway has just 112 points in 272 NHL games in primarily fourth-line minutes.

Perhaps his role is expanded in the wake of Kevin Fiala's departure, but he has a lot of work to do on his game. Defensively, Greenway gets caved in at 5v5, he has yet to post the offense worthy of a promotion. Still, although the Wild have a strong prospect system, they do not have a ton of NHL-ready options at the moment, making Greenway's absence even more detrimental.

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Jon Merrill, on the other hand, is a huge part of Minnesota's defense. For a third-pair defender, Merrill plays a pivotal roll in their defense's ability to transition strong defense into quick offense. Merrill is not overly offensively gifted, but he offers a very resilient defensive profile and makes the all-important first pass out of the zone with great efficiency.

Having a strong third-pairing is critical in the NHL, as one weak-link in a team's defense can prove catastrophic. The Wild will need Alex Goligoski or rookie Calen Addison to fill the gap in his absence.

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After a strong regular season in '21-22, Minnesota's expectations should be lower to start the upcoming season. This summer, the Wild lost Kevin Fiala, the team's second-leading scorer, and Cam Talbot, their starting goalie.

They were bounced in six games to the St. Louis Blues during the playoffs, and the buyouts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise consume nearly $13 million -- or 16% -- of the team's salary cap.

Guerin has his work cut out the next couple of seasons, but the Wild have a strong future ahead of them, save one or two 'transition' seasons.

Models: JFresh, TDH
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