No. 87: Minnesota Wild

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 7, 2012, 12:12 PM ET
By Ross Marrinson | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 92
Title track: 103
Ownership: 70
Coaching: 80
Players: 95
Fan relations: 61
Affordability: 93
Stadium experience: 6
Bang for the buck: 102

Even the beautiful Xcel Energy Center -- ranked by fans as creating the best stadium experience in the NHL -- can't hide the mediocre product skating on its rink, as the Wild continue to wither away in the doldrums of hockey irrelevance: 78th overall in 2010, 92nd in 2011 and 87th in 2012. Fans don't feel that the team demonstrates a commitment to winning (the Wild haven't eclipsed 90 points since the 2007-08 season) or gets enough from the money it spends. They voted the team in the bottom third of the NHL in seven of the nine categories. The excitement of getting a team after the North Stars bolted to Dallas has faded, and fans are left with an organization that's charging too much -- at $62.63, the average ticket price is ninth highest in the league -- and providing too little success (only three playoff appearances in 11 seasons). The Wild made a huge splash in free agency this year, signing the homegrown Zach Parise and former Predators defenseman Ryan Suter, which should help in the players and ownership categories, ranked this year at 95th and 70th, respectively. But for now, the Wild are where they've always been: searching for a talented team to match their state-of-the-art arena.