Minnesota Wild: Jared Spurgeon For Nail Yakupov?


This may be “old” news already for some, heck the playoffs haven’t even ended yet, but Jared Spurgeon‘s name can’t be brought up anymore without the word trade in the same sentence. Over the past few weeks you’ve noticed that due to his pending RFA status at next season’s end, and his foreseeable pay increase, the Minnesota Wild  may look to trade him this off-season.

We know what kind of player Jared Spurgeon is. This season was probably the best he’s had with the Wild. Many folks would be disappointed should he get the axe, and for obvious reasons. He is relatively solid in all aspects of his game for a smaller player, and rarely makes costly mistakes. We’d be losing one of our few offensive weapons from the blue-line, something the Wild don’t have many of at this point.  And is it me? Or does it seem that if we are ever able to figure out the Hawks in the playoffs, then we will need a “Keith/Seabrook” scoring duo of our own from the blue? (If so, then trading Spurge may not be in the Wild’s best interest). (Or maybe it is?) (Or isn’t?) (Who knows anymore really..)

Here’s the debate: This is funny because it all stemmed from our beloved Mike Russo and a conversation he had with Edmonton Journal writer Jim Matheson via email (the two are buds). So from here on out, this is really nothing more than living-room GM’ing. According to Russo, the two discussed a Spurgeon in Edmonton for Nail Yakupov deal, for a number of reasons in his end of season blog. Russo seemed a shade more hesitant though when he acknowledged people blowing up his twitter feed due to this discussion he had with his colleague. See, On the other hand, Matheson believes in this conjured trade possibility whole-heartedly, as he wrote about it soon after in his Edmonton Paper. I’m not ashamed to say, that I’m not far behind him.

More from Gone Puck Wild

Nail Yakupov, the former number one overall pick in the 2012 draft could develop into the player he was meant to be in Edmonton, for Minnesota. Through three seasons (192 GP), Yaks has only scored 42G and 46A, oh, that’s good for a -72 rating. Not solid. But look at the surrounding cast around him. Edmonton has been stockpiling high first-round picks for years now and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere without a veteran core, or at least without a few vet key pieces in place to mentor the youth. That’s something the Wild do not lack, and in fact, may have one too many of. While it would be risky, basing a player’s performance from the ages of 19-21, in Edmonton no-less, is not entirely fair. You’re right, numbers don’t lie, nor do on-ice performances, but he is only 21. Age with potential is not something easily tradeable for in this league anymore. We know this all too well as fans of the Wild. Watching Fletch bring guys in year-in and year-out, each around 30 years of age, is hurting our future. Derek discussed that very issue last week.

Before We Lose Our Minds Over This…

Flash back two summers ago, when guys like Devin Setoguchi, Matt Cullen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard were all traded/released due to similar cap strains that the Wild may face this year and next. Remember that “dreaded” trade of fan-favorite Cal Clutterbuck to the Islanders for new fave Nino Niederreiter? Honestly, who knew what to expect out of the then 20-year-old swiss-winger? We knew when Nino came to Minnesota, he was getting the fresh start he desired, but would he get a shot to play in anything other than a 4th line role? (Where he was a -29, 1G in 55 GP guy). Would the former first rounder finally live up to expectations? Would he even play for the Wild, or would he go from Bridgeport to Iowa and stay in the AHL? Their were tons of questions surrounding Nino to say the least, and it’s safe to say that even though Clutterbuck wasn’t a prolific scorer, Fletch took a gamble when he traded for Nino; a predicted star, but unproven player. So far, it’s worked well for us.

And Here’s Where I’ll Get the Flak…

Wouldn’t Fletcher be taking the same kind of risk with a guy like Nail Yakupov? The Russian winger is only 21 years of age with his prime still ahead of him. Granted, if this trade did not pan out like the steal of Cal for Nino, then fans everywhere would be questioning Fletcher’s call altogether losing a guy like Spurgeon for a lackluster return. And to be fair, this trade would be a tad bit riskier considering Spurge provided the Wild a better two-way game and better play overall than Clutterbuck. But if Yaks simply needs a change of scenery, playing with a vet like Parise (which he has yet to do in his career), imagine the production he could provide, IF he pans out I should say. (I sometimes get a case of the CSW’s) (the “coulda shoulda woulda’s” mentality)

Stay Calm…

This is just my opinion, and something simply to keep in mind this summer with trades being a good possibility for the Minnesota Wild. Have a positive mindset if Fletch makes a deal like the one discussed above. Whether a Yaks for Spurge swap were to work or not, I personally think gaining a 21-year-old, with goal-scoring potential (like the Nino trade) could be beneficial.  It certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world.


Im neither for, or against, trading Spurge this summer, especially for Nail Yakupov. But if this specific trade happens, I won’t complain, I’ll just cross my fingers and hope.

Next: “Bargain