Minnesota Wild: No Big Moves Made at Trade Deadline


After much anticipation the Minnesota Wild ended up not making any blockbuster deals at the 3 p.m. EST trade deadline.  Only time will tell if this was the right course of action or not.

This 2016 NHL trade deadline has already been called one of the least active in the history of the league.  The Minnesota Wild certainly did their part to advance that narrative as they made only three deals.  Two of which were swaps of minor league talent, and the one NHL level trade was the move that took Niklas Backstrom to the Flames for David Jones.  A good deal considering the Wild got a player they can use as opposed to a third goaltender they haven’t played all year with virtually no effect on the salary cap.  In the end GM Chuck Fletcher made no blockbuster moves, and some are left wondering if it was the right thing to do.

The best way to describe the overall lack of moves across the league is that in the salary cap era rental players are no longer worth cheaper prospects.  The idea that you have to give up draft picks, prospects, or your talent that is still in their RFA years to get high price talent at the end of their current deal that the team may or may not sign is unacceptable to the modern GM.  Fletcher in the end was no different as he decided not to chase any rental players.

Still I think the main reason that Fletch didn’t make a deal is something that he’s been saying for a while…he thought the team could win as it was assembled now.  He’s absolutely right they can win without any further help, and furthermore he felt the team is underperforming so badly that the acquisition of a player would not be enough of a spark.  The logic with any trade is that you reward a hard working team by going out and adding a player to that hard working group.  It makes little sense to add a player just to under achieve with the rest of existing squad.

Another huge factor that most likely led to no big deals by the Wild, is that the market just wasn’t right.  Sure the Wild probably fielded plenty of calls about Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba, but if they weren’t being offered the compensation they wanted there was no reason to make a deal.  I know we all wanted to see a player like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins make his way to the Twin Cities, but if Edmonton was asking too much they were asking too much.

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 I give Fletcher some credit for not making an impulsive move that would have robbed the team of a huge piece in a lop-sided deal, because believe me the Oilers knew people wanted Nugent and were not going to let him go easy.  After all what does a team like Edmonton have to lose?  They aren’t making the playoffs and Nugent is under contract next season, so no need to be impulsive just set the price with a team and move on if they don’t want to pay it.

Also I think most people have to recognize that while deadline deals get plenty of attention they often don’t yield a good “hockey trade”.  Most of the value added trades take place in the offseason working in tandem with the free-agency process, where GMs can strategize and negotiate a lot more.  I think Fletcher may have his eye on making more of a value added trade this summer.  I know what most people are thinking that we need to win now, but I think the urgency is still not quite 100% here yet.  The Parise and Suter age issue is still manageable, but still with both of them turning 32 next year, it needs to be next year or the year after for sure to the Wild to make that run.

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Regardless of what you might think the trade deadline has passed and the Wild team is what it will be for the rest of the season.  They can still win and might even make it far in the playoffs, if they make it.  Chuck Fletcher may have made the best move by not making one, but then again ask me on April 9th if was the best thing to do.