1 - Why is this team worth watching? Marian Gaborik can put the puck in the net, at least when his groin is feeling alright, Brent Burns is growing into a all-around defensive dynamo and you just can't beat the Boogeyman.
2 - Are they better or worse than last year? Worse. Andrew Brunette is solid but no Brian Rolston and they didn't even bother replacing Pavol Demitra - a player who Gabby clearly enjoyed playing with. Marek Zidlicky should add to an already mobile defensive corps but who knows, he could get injured early and often like Kim Johnsson or Kurtis Foster. Antti Miettinen, Mark Parrish and Owen Nolan will be fine additions to their system but none of them bring anything new to the table. Edmonton should give them a run for the division title this season.
3 - Who should YOU draft in fantasy? Even without Demitra, Gabby is good for a point per game. He has all-world talent and one shudders to think what numbers he would put up away from Lemaire's system. Burns will get you points and PIMs from the blueline, while Zidlicky and Foster should just get points (figure 40 or so each). Mikko Koivu was headed for a huge season before the Ohlund incident last year so who knows just how high he can go? I will definitely be targeting him in some of my drafts. Pierre Marc Bouchard also has a ton of offensive skills but he signed a big deal so beware of complacency. Niklas Backstrom is one of the top goaltenders in the game and has the assistance of the Wild's not-so-wild system so he should be among the first goaltenders taken (Brodeur, Giguere, Lundqvist, Nabokov, Osgood and then him).
4 - Will the Wild ever be as beloved as the North Stars? Inside Minnesota, sure. The team sells out every game with what I hear is a fantastic crowd of hockey fans. But outside of Minnesota? Notsomuch. They play some pretty boring hockey and have no characters. There is no boy model Modanos, no gold medal Brotens, no missing Links and no tit f--ker Bellows. Sorry guys, we still love the North Stars.