The Minnesota Wild may have missed a trick with the trade going down between their divisional rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Arizona Coyotes.
Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini both join the Blackhawks, whilst Nick Schmaltz heads the other way. Looking at the make-up of the Minnesota Wild’s system; you have to question whether they could’ve pulled off a similar deal.
Nick Schmaltz doesn’t exactly compare to any of the younger options within the Minnesota Wild prospect pool, but you probably could’ve argued a case for offering up Luke Kunin and a couple of other depth options for similar reward.
Dylan Strome could still live up to his draft as a third overall pick, given further time to develop. He would’ve been able to be sheltered with the Wild given that Eric Staal and Mikko Koivu have the top-six locked up in terms of centers.
Obviously, we’re dealing in hypotheticals and maybe Schmaltz was the key in all of this. However, it’d certainly seem like he was their priority given they also gave up Perlini in the transaction. Perlini is another player that could still live up to his potential as a first round pick.
Looking closely at the Minnesota Wild roster, you can argue that there isn’t any younger player that is at the ready to jump straight into an NHL line-up like Schmaltz.
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You can argue that there are guys that could step up or might step up, but Nick Schmaltz was a 52-point guy at the NHL level last year – only Eric Staal, Jason Zucker, Ryan Suter, Matt Dumba and Mikael Granlund achieved those sorts of totals last season.
None of them have the upside of being 22-year old centers.
I can see ways that there was potential for Strome to be traded to the Wild. It might’ve needed Minnesota to give up on someone like Jordan Greenway, who is an example of a young player that has managed to crack the line-up and do alright.
Maybe the trick they’ve missed is to make a call about Brendan Perlini; he seems to be a young guy with a heap of upside that was stuck in a rut in the Arizona desert. At 6’3″ and 212 pounds, he would’ve added even more size to a big line if they put him with Charlie Coyle and Greenway.
Minnesota Wild General Manager, Paul Fenton has been around plenty of big deals in his time working for the Nashville Predators; he could’ve lit up the market with a clever signing here.
A missed trick; sure. But life goes on. The Minnesota Wild right now are still at the top of the Central Division and the Blackhawks aren’t; a transaction around youth might not change that immediately.