Scouting the Enemy: Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild

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October 17, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (31) blocks a shot as center Ryan Kesler (17) helps defend Minnesota Wild right wing Nino Niederreiter (22) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Wild are well known for having great forwards, including Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu, and Thomas Vanek. However, the Wild have gotten a surprising amount of strong play and contributions from their younger forwards, including Nino Niederreiter (who leads the team with 11 goals), Jason Zucker (who has 10 goals himself), Mikael Granlund, and Charlie Coyle. How large on an impact has the emergence of this group of forwards had?

Dustin: It’s huge. A lot of the veteran leadership on the Wild has been struggling offensively. Vanek has a solid number of points, but only two goals. Koivu had a long dry spell. Jason Pominville just came out of a slump on a bit of a fluke goal. Without Niederreiter, Zucker, Coyle, and Granlund, the team wouldn’t be doing as well as they are (though none of them have been mind-blowing; they’ve just been solid and fairly consistent).