It wasn’t an exciting trade deadline for much of the NHL, but Minnesota proved to be an exception.
Three players are gone: Staubitz, Schultz, Zanon.
Two players are coming: Gilbert, Kampfer.
The first move of the day for the Wild wasn’t a big surprise. Brad Staubitz was waiting to clear re-entry waivers, and I don’t think the timing of having him sitting out there today was in any way a coincidence. Montreal picked him up. The Wild clear some cap space…not much, but space is space…and the Habs get him for a song. It was bound to happen once Matt Kassian started seeing more time in Minnesota. Kassian is the stronger enforcer, and Staubitz just wasn’t performing with the Wild.
The next move was the big shock. Nick Schultz was always an available name, but he certainly wasn’t one of the guys I thought would go as a primary trade today. Oops. Schultz is now an Oiler, and Minnesota native Tom Gilbert will take his place on the Wild blue line. The deal is close to a wash financially, but by the numbers Gilbert is the puck moving and shooting defenseman that the Wild have been sorely lacking. Schultz will certainly be missed by fans and players, but Gilbert’s homecoming may provide the energy that the Wild haven’t possessed at the blue line for most of this season.
Less surprisingly, Greg Zanon is no longer in red and green. Zanon has been traded to the Boston Bruins in exchange for young defenseman Steve Kampfer. Russo is reporting that Kampfer will report to Houston. No real shock on this deal…other than some great shot blocking (and let’s be honest, Zanon is a fearless puck stopper) Zanon hadn’t been doing very well with Minnesota. He speed and puck handling was definitely suffering, and the Wild need D who can clear the zone with speed. In addition, the move frees up more payroll. He wasn’t going to be re-signed at the end of the year, folks. It’s just an early move. Boston badly wanted a shot blocker, and they’re getting a good one. Kampfer is very young, but according to Bruins fans he’s another puck mover. The Wild D is getting a serious overhaul.
The Wild host the Kings tomorrow night, expect to see Gilbert in the lineup…probably with Spurgeon.
By the numbers this season…
Schultz: 1 goal, 2 assists in 62 games
Gilbert: 3 goals, 14 assists in 47 games
I’ve got a good feeling about this one.