Will a Trade Really Propel the Wild into the Postseason?


Will yet another trade deadline rental be in the cards for the Minnesota Wild?

It seems that the Wild just are not on the same page every game. Other than their recent four game winning streak, three against teams currently sitting outside the playoff picture, there appears to be a disconnect throughout the team. As Mike Yeo recently said in his first interview from being fired: “It just felt like there were almost two groups. There were younger guys and there were the older guys. It wasn’t just a group.”

Bringing in John Torchetti provided the Wild with a noticeable spark on the western-Canada road trip, but the Canucks, Flames, nor Oilers are in a playoff position and Minnesota was able to get a clean sweep. Morale was high coming home for the Stadium Series game against the rival Blackhawks, and they put on a clinic. Chicago was on their heels all game and the Wild routed them straight out of TCF Bank Stadium. This win is what gave Wild fans the sense that their team was back.

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They had a chance to go on a road riding a five game winning streak, but the Wild came back to reality against the Islanders. It was a hard game to watch, as finding their game in the offensive zone was almost non-existent. The frustration that was so evident in the final days of the Mike Yeo era was creeping back in. If they cannot find their groove on the road against the Flyers and Capitals, it may put GM Chuck Fletcher in a bind. The Wild cannot afford to lose more ground in the wild card race. If the coaching change is not enough for this team, will a trade really light a fire?

Chuck Fletcher has been in the rental market the past couple of seasons when he brought in the likes of forwards Matt Moulson, Sean Bergenheim, and Chris Stewart. Those three players cost the Wild three 2nd round picks and a 3rd rounder, not to mention the acquisitions of Bryzgalov, Dubnyk, and Leopold. Fletcher mortgaged the future for the ‘win now’ mentality, and it is starting to haunt the team.

Not only are they up against the cap, they have a number of immovable veterans on large contracts. Add in

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

the fact that they are all underperforming for the amount they get paid; it is not a recipe for success. Fletcher does not want to give up on his young guns yet either. Nino has shown he can be a goal scorer in this league, Coyle is becoming the type of player the Wild has envisioned, Dumba is a 21 year old defenseman and is going to put up double digit goals this season, Zucker has the skillset to be a major impact on a nightly basis. The list goes on for these young guys, but they also have yet to prove they are impact players night in and night out.

Fletcher was in on the Ryan Johansen sweepstakes, dangling Jonas Brodin and an unnamed forward to try and land the top line center. At least he notices that the team needs a top forward to add to the mix, however, after missing out on Johansen, it has been quiet on the trade front. At this point, with virtually no draft picks to give up, Brodin being injured, and immovable vets, it is hard to see a high profile rental that would come in and give the Wild another needed boost. The only rental that would seem to make sense would be a solid penalty killer that can plug in on the 3rd and 4th lines.

With the trade deadline fast approaching on the 29th, it will be intriguing to see what moves, if any, that the GM can provide for a team that has to make the playoffs. Chuck Fletcher is on the hot seat and if this team is going to make a run in the postseason, it is hard to imagine a trade deadline that he does not make some sort of move. Coyle, Nino, and Dumba should be on the list of untouchables going forward, but if Fletch can bring in a top line center or pure goal scorer, he will be hard-pressed to pass it up.