Mar 10, 2012; Uniondale, NY, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Zach Parise (9) against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-US PRESSWIRE

Are the Minnesota Wild Building the NHL's Version of the Miami Heat?


Nov 23, 2011; St. Paul, MN, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter (20) against the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Predators 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter were…inspired.  Earlier this week I joked that Chuck Fletcher was trying to build San Jose North , but now I’m wondering if he’s trying to build Miami North.  In the NBA, everyone knows that by adding the two biggest free agents at the time (Lebron James and Chris Bosh) to a roster already including one of the NBA’s best players (Duane Wade), the Miami Heat got good fast and won a title in only their second year playing together.  So I started taking a look at some stats.  An NBA game is 48 minutes long and the Heat averaged 98.5 PPG.  A quick look at the stats and some simple math tells you that James, Bosh and Wade were on the floor for 43.7% of the total possible minutes played by Heat players and scored 68.2% of their team’s points.  Looking at just LBJ, he played 78% of each game and put in 27.5% of his team’s points.

Dec. 12, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (left) small forward LeBron James (center) and power forward Chris Bosh (right) pose for a photo during media day at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Can you do the same thing in the NHL?  Of course not.  In Minnesota Wild terms (league’s lowest scoring team) that would mean Parise would have to play almost 47 minutes per game and score 45 goals.  In other words, it’s close to impossible to replicate what the Heat players did in the NHL.  Part why it’s so much harder to build an NHL team is because your average dressed NHL roster (20 players) is almost twice the size of an NBA’s active roster (12).  Part of it is that your starters play the bulk of an NBA game but in the NHL it’s a more even split between lines.  Maybe the most telling part is that hockey is a more team-oriented game.  Think of the minutes piece of it.  Former Shark, current Panther and Lady Bing trophy winner Brian Campbell led the league in average ice time last season with 26.53 MPG; in other words, only 44% of each game.  That gave LBJ almost twice the time on his relevant playing surface to impact the game.
Point is that it’s easy to turnaround an NBA franchise.  Step 1) get 3 awesome players to collude together.  Step 2) pay them a ton of dough.  Step 3) wait for the rings to roll in.  If you’re one of the tens of NBA fans left, like Vader said, “search your feelings, you know it to be true.”  In the NHL, however, the Hockey Gods have made it that teams work decades to build championship rosters and win Cups.  There’s a multi-layered farm system, thorough scouting and a draft that lasts more than 2 rounds.  While they will be improved, but don’t crown the Wild just yet.  For now just circle the January 12th matchup at the Tank to see what they’re made of.

Worst Professional Sports Team Names (NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL)

1) Miami Heat
2) Utah Jazz
3) Minnesota Wild
4) Orlando Magic
5) Toronto Raptors
Want to debate a list? Tweet me @bluelineboomer

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Tags: Hockey Gods Ryan Suter Zach Parise

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