The Minnesota Wild's group of defensemen gets the most of the criticism, but the weakest position group may be the centers.
Charlie Coyle moves from right wing to help. If he can continue his development and progress without taking a step backward, the group as a whole becomes less of a concern. He is expected to start on the pivotal second line behind Mikko Koivu.
Koivu is one of the most underrated centers in the league, but will be pushed for the two spots in the next few years by Coyle and Mikael Granlund.
Granlund is expected to start on the wing, but can move to center if need be. He has the puck skills to be a top playmaker, but needs to adjust to the physicality of the game in the NHL.
Kyle Brodziak is a defensive specialist that can pitch in on the offensive end from time to time. He plays a shutdown role and is slated to start on the third line.
The fourth line center is Zenon Konopka to start the season. He beat out Jake Dowell in training camp for one of the final forward spots on the roster. Konopka excels in the face-off circle, but doesn't do anything else really well. Dowell is a more complete player that could be more valuable than Konopka on the fourth line as the season goes on.
Erik Haula and Zack Phillips are in their first and second year of professional hockey, respectively. They are the more skilled prospects in Iowa. They would likely be the first call ups should the need arise for a first or second line center.
Here is how the Wild's No. 1 center, Mikko Koivu, stacks up with the other No. 1 centers in the Central Division.