The Minnesota Wild have announced a one-for-one trade with the Anaheim Ducks, acquiring Pontus Aberg with Justin Kloos headed the opposite direction.
Given the last time we heard the words Minnesota Wild and trade mentioned together, it was a low-key deal bringing prospect Will Bitten across from the Montreal Canadiens; this is a far clearer indication of the direction Paul Fenton may be hoping to take the team in with Pontus Aberg likely to step in at NHL level immediately.
In Justin Kloos, they had a player that looked ready to take the next step up from the American Hockey League but never quite convinced the management group that he could, starring in just one career NHL game. His AHL numbers with the Iowa Wild this season have him at nearly a point-per-game pace, so it’s clear there was some level of potential that wasn’t quite reached.
Pontus Aberg on the other hand has 18 career NHL playoff games, starring for the Nashville Predators and tallying 5 points. His regular season NHL numbers have him at 37 points in 105 games; averaging a point every three games; not bad for a player that has bounced between three NHL teams.
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The Nashville Predators selected him in the 2nd round (37th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, when who else but current Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton had a seat at the drafting table in Nashville.
Since then, he has bounced around after first being traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Mark Letestu and then picked up by the Anaheim Ducks earlier this year on waivers.
Either way; Nashville, Edmonton and Anaheim’s loss is the Minnesota Wild’s gain as Pontus Aberg is definitely the right sort of player to be bringing in.
He has the offensive prowess and game-breaker skill to win games for the Wild and showed earlier this year that he had no problem stepping up his game with a higher calibre of player.
He spent time earlier this season on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell before falling out of favour as the Ducks struggled. That certainly suggests that he is a player with the skills and dynamism to make a difference in the Minnesota Wild line-up.
You’d have to expect Pontus Aberg to make his way almost immediately into the Minnesota Wild line-up which is something that Justin Kloos never quite managed.
If this happens to be the case, then you’d have to give the Wild the early win on this trade right now.