Minnesota Wild: Should The Wild Trade For David Krejci?

The wild have long suffered from a lack of depth at centre and the hunt for the number one centre of the future is ongoing, even with the signing of free agent Eric Staal. Could Boston Bruin David Krejci be the piece missing in Minnesota?

With the Boston Bruins signing former St. Louis Blues Captain David Backes to a 5-year, 30 million dollar deal there has been some speculation that the Bruins may attempt to move one of their centre men for reinforcement on the blue line. The Bruins currently have centres Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Ryan Spooner under contract for the coming season and it has been reported that Backes expects to play centre despite an organisational need at right wing, exacerbated by the recent departure of Loui Eriksson via free agency.

 Backes’ arrival solidifies a formidable spine down the middle of the ice for the Bruins but it would be prudent for them to test the market with one of their centres to address their needs on the back end. As of the time of writing the Bruins have only five d-men under contract for 2016-17 season, headlined by a declining 39 year old Zdeno Chara, and the recently re-signed Torey Krug. It is evident they could use another solid presence on the blue line if they plan to be competitive this upcoming season. With Backes being a recent addition, Patrice Bergeron being Patrice Bergeron and Spooner signed to a cap-friendly $950,000 contract, Krejci appears to be the odd man out.

There has been abundant speculation since the trade deadline that the Minnesota Wild have been shopping one of their young defensive corps in order to add more offensive punch. Is it possible that Krejci could provide that punch?

Krejci is a former 2004 second round draft pick of the Bruins who has played 623 NHL games, all for the Bruins, and put up solid numbers throughout his career. Krejci has hit the 20 goal plateau twice and topped 60 points five times since entering the league in 2006-07, including 63 points in 72 games this past season. That’s scoring the Wild could certainly use if they are going to make a run past the second round this season.

Krejci is currently signed through to the 2012-22 season with an annual cap-hit of $7,250,000 (per CapFriendly). With the Wild projected to have a touch over $6 million available cap space this seems to be a poor fit but if the wild were to trade Jonas Brodin ($4.1 million AAV) or Marco Scandella ($4 million AAV) this would still leave a touch under $3 million for Fletcher to play with.

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So, in theory, the Wild could make the money fit, but where would Krejci slide in to the team? Krejci is and has been a positive possession player, both in Corsi and Fenwick, over his career. This may have been driven, in part, by playing for a strong Bruins team but he has also posted a slightly positive corsi for relative to his team mates over the course of his career. So he drives possession and puts up points consistently, including 63 points on a Bruins team that was pretty average last season.

It seems Krejci is the ideal second line centre, a role he has been fulfilling well in Boston over the past few seasons. However, if the Wild were to acquire him this would add to the glut of highly paid, second line calibre centres currently on the Wild’s roster with Mikko Koivu and the recent acquisition of Eric Staal. And at what cost to the Wild? Both Scandella and Brodin are only one season removed from career highs in scoring and positive possession. Admittedly both took a step back last season but so did the Wild as a whole. With a new coach and new direction both are primed for a return to form.

With Krejci on the wrong side of 30 and injury issues requiring off-season hip surgery it would be a mistake for the Wild to trade a young, capable defender to add a centre whose role is already filled by two players, one at half the cost.