Minnesota Wild: Mid Season Trade Rumors


It’s no secret that Fletcher is a GM that will seek to improve the Minnesota Wild via the trade.  From the Pominville trade to the Dubnyk and Stewart deals last season the likelihood of Fletcher making a trade soon are high.  The trade deadline hits the NHL on Feb 29th so there’s time, but not much.

Every Minnesota Wild fan sighed a huge collective sigh seven days ago when it was announced that the club had inked their young gun defensemen Jared Spurgeon to a four-year deal worth 20.75 million dollars.  This signing by the Wild ensures their blue-line corps will be solid for years to come, but it offers a huge stability on the roster front.  Now that Chuck Fletcher has his biggest offseason signing already done, he can go into this season’s trade deadline with a more solid understanding of his limits and possibly make a big team improving trade.

Moreover, with the depth the Wild have at defense they can afford to make a deal.  It’s not just a talent depth it’s a contract depth.  Five of the top six defensemen are signed to deals that run at least through next season (Matt Dumba is the only free-agent to be), and that gives the Wild massive bargaining power with a team because the player they trade will not just be a rental he’ll have longevity with the new team.

So now to the fun part who is likely to come to the Wild and who is likely to go.  The Wild most certainly will be looking for help up the middle at Center.  They seemed to solve the replacement for Kyle Brodziak with the addition of Jarret Stoll off of waivers from the Rangers.

I think they need to seek a high-powered scoring center, so Coyle can move to the wing.  The name that has been prevalent is Ryan Johansen of Columbus who has scored 59 goals in the previous two seasons.  Currently he in John Tortorella’s doghouse, and is only scored six goals this season.  Johansen has a huge upside being that he’s 23 and under contract for two more years at a decent cap hit of $4 million a season.  Other centers that might make sense to pursue using the same formula as a Johansen trade (young, affordable years left on contract, and scoring potential) are Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis or Alex Galchenyuk from a slumping Montreal team.

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As covered earlier it looks like the Wild’s best resource to pull from to make a trade happen is their defense.  The question of who is a little more difficult.  Ryan Suter is automatically off the table, Matt Dumba is set to be an RFA and will be re-signed this offseason, and Nate Prosser is not the blue chip needed to pull in the talented center described before.

That leaves Spurgeon, Brodin, and Scandella as defensemen left to deal.  I’d argue that you can’t trade Spuregon because he’s a value now at a smaller cap hit this season than Brodin and Scandella.  Brodin currently has a cap hit of $4.1 million and Scandella’s hit is $4 million with multiple years left on their deals making them very attractive.  A team knows that if they trade for Brodin or Scandella they’ll have them for a while, which could mean a bargaining tool to get something in addition to the players I mentioned earlier perhaps some extra draft picks or minor league talent to stock up a struggling AHL affiliate in Iowa.

Both of those salary numbers translate well to all the players above as Johansen is currently at $4 million, Ennis is at $4.6 million, and Galchenyuk is at $2.8.  This means the Wild would have little to no effect negative effect on their cap room, and thus would be able to head into this offseason with all current priorities intact as well as a chance to possibly make a splash still with the freeing up of Backstrom’s contract.

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All this amounts to rumors at this point.  But still what is fact is that the Wild have a good chance to make a move that will have instant impact with little effect on the long-term course of the team.  Chuck Fletcher will not part with important players like Scandella or Brodin without getting value for them, and I’m sure the team will be well off if even if they stick around.  The Wild are poised to make a run at the cup as always, could they use some help…certainly.  Still like everything else in the world it just needs to come at the right price.  We’ve got till Feb 29th to see if something can be done at that right price.