The Minnesota Wild can celebrate, at least in the short-term, having won the Gustav Olofsson for Will Bitten trade with the Montreal Canadiens.
News recently came through that former Minnesota Wild second round pick, Gustav Olofsson underwent shoulder surgery and was expected to be out for up to six months for the Canadiens.
Will Bitten, meanwhile, is regularly suiting up with Minnesota’s minor-league affiliate, the Iowa Wild.
The 20-year old forward has 1 assist to show for his 7 AHL games, but is obviously still very new to the league. There is rarely ever the expectation that a player can match point-per-game OHL pace, like Bitten had with the Hamilton Bulldogs, in their first AHL season.
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Gustav Olofsson, by comparison, went straight from the Wild training camp and being on the cusp of a main roster call-up to the Canadiens’ affiliate, the Laval Rocket. He managed 2 games with 1 assist before getting injured.
Now, call it bad luck, call it chance, call it a lot of things; but right now, in terms of which organisation is getting more from their player, it’s safe to say that Minnesota are winning the trade.
You also must consider that Gustav first injured his shoulder whilst still playing for the Wild, per Michael Russo of The Athletic on CBS Sports. Maybe they knew something more than Montreal in this trade?
As we looked at when the deal was announced, Will Bitten is three years younger, has plenty of upside once he learns the professional game and plays a role with slightly less positional depth in the Minnesota Wild system.
Olofsson, by comparison had bounced back and forth between Minnesota and Iowa, to the point that you really questioned if he was NHL-calibre or just a high-tier AHL player.
Whilst I don’t envisage Will Bitten pulling on a Minnesota jersey any time soon, due to his injury, Olofsson won’t be pulling one on in Montreal either.
A shoulder complaint could hound him perpetually now and that’s never a good thing for a defenseman that will need to be somewhat physical.
As such, whether it’s just luck of the draw or not, I think the Minnesota Wild wins the Will Bitten trade hands down.