Wednesday, June 23, 2010

James Sheppard Gets One Year Deal

James Sheppard prepares for a faceoff
James Sheppard agreed to a 1 year contract worth up to $803,250 with the Minnesota Wild last week. As many Wild fans are aware of, James Sheppard has been an underachiever in his tenure with the Wild. Drafted 9th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, Sheppard has yet to attain 25 points in a season although playing in 78, 82, and 64 games in three seasons. In a season in which General Manager Chuck Fletcher traded 2009 1st round pick Nick Leddy, as well as 2005 1st round pick Benoit Pouliot, resigning James Sheppard was not a guarantee. Last season was James Sheppard's lowest scoring output, registering 6 points in 64 games. James Sheppard must elevate his play next season with the Minnesota Wild if he ever wants to validate his first round selection. In today's NHL 1st round selections (especially top ten) are brought in to be contributors, not role players. James Sheppard's disappointment has hurt the Minnesota Wild's offense which only averaged 2.61 goals a game last season. If Sheppard can elevate his game and get on the scoring sheet, he could salvage his career. After all, Sheppard is still only 22 and with the right players around him he could flourish.

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