Minnesota Wild: Unfortunate for Victor Rask that he is being compared

ST. PAUL, MN - JANUARY 19: Victor Rask #49 of the Minnesota Wild warms up before a game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on January 19, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
ST. PAUL, MN - JANUARY 19: Victor Rask #49 of the Minnesota Wild warms up before a game with the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on January 19, 2019 in St. Paul, Minnesota.(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Wild acquired Victor Rask in a one-for-one deal last month, sending fan favourite Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes in the process. Unfortunately for Rask, he now finds everything he does on the ice compared against Nino.

Suffice to say, the fans liked Nino and that any trade that saw him leaving the Minnesota Wild was going to be reviewed endlessly by a reasonably critical fan-base. When Victor Rask was the return on a deal to send him packing, you were always going to have to be up-selling it to the fans, who expected someone with more production than Rask or much greater potential.

Instead, they saw the deal as being lumped with a center who topped out at 48 points three seasons ago, flirted with the same total a season later and then fell off a cliff finishing with just 31 points last year and sitting on just 8 despite this season having passed the halfway point.

Making it worse is the fact that since joining up with the Carolina Hurricanes, Nino Niederreiter has posted five goals in six games. The Minnesota Wild faithful could be forgiven if their cheering for Victor Rask’s first goal for them, against the Blackhawks was sarcastic almost.

Why is this unfortunate you ask?

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Because Victor Rask isn’t that bad of a player; the trade was just for the wrong guy and the recent form of Nino makes it feel very much like Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton was fleeced.

Time will make that judgement. It could well be that once Victor Rask settles into his role with the Minnesota Wild, he picks up his offensive game and is able to offer something there. Or once the honeymoon period is over in Raleigh that Niederreiter’s point production dries up.

Right now, it’s unfair to judge Victor Rask too harshly; if Paul Fenton is able to use the cap saving of $1.25 million wisely, I’m sure none of us will be complaining about having him here.

Also, you can’t overlook the fact that if nothing else he is a very stable two-way center, equally adept on the wing. Given the age of the Minnesota Wild line-up, having versatility in the line-up could prove vital.

Love the deal or hate it; it’s happened – Victor Rask is a Minnesota Wild player and will remain one. Nino Niederreiter isn’t one anymore. Comparing them, whilst it’s always going to happen, is pointless. It only serves to frustrate when you compare the raw numbers.

If Nino Niederreiter was clearly such a part of the future, why did he fall that far out of favour with Bruce Boudreau that the Minnesota Wild was utilising him on the fourth line?

Surely the coach’s trust or lack thereof speaks volumes; Victor Rask on the other hand has arrived as a steady player, not flashy or showing signs of an offensive break-out yet, but comfortably partnering fellow new arrival Pontus Aberg and Zach Parise. Together that line has managed six points in four games; not bad for what you’d have to view by usage as the third line.

Next. J.T. Brown finds himself the odd man out. dark

Comparisons in hockey are inevitable; unlucky for Victor Rask that the Minnesota Wild will always compare him with a fan favourite, who most people weren’t ready to let go of.