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 against the Minnesota Wild during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

3. When it comes to defense in Minnesota, Ryan Suter is the first name that comes to mind. However, the Wild have solidified their core on the back-end, signing Jonas Brodin to a six-year, $25 million extension and Marco Scandella to a five-year, $20 million extension as well. The Brodin deal buys out his first two seasons of unrestricted free agency, while the Scandella extension buys out the first three. Those are both good, affordable deals for top-four caliber defensemen. How much of an impact do those two have on the Wild defense, which allows the fewest shots on goal per game in the NHL (25.5)?

Dustin: Coming from someone who is watching these guys play a lot, I think they’ve got one of the most underrated top four groups in the league. Jared Spurgeon, Scandella, and Brodin are all very young and are coming of age – I’m throwing Spurgeon into that group. They’re activating off the blue line more than in previous years, and it’s leading to more defense-generated scoring than I’ve seen from this team in many years. Having Suter there is probably a part of that. He’s obviously got a bit of a leader pedigree, and the young players are definitely benefiting from that. All-in-all, the D-group in Minnesota is really young and bodes well for the future of the team. Christian Folin, a rookie, should be on the third pairing against the Ducks and has looked good following a short stint in the AHL. The team also just sent Matt Dumba down to the AHL. He’s just 20 and has a ton of potential: he’s a first round draft pick who is just playing his first AHL games and should be back with the NHL Wild this season.