Given that no Minnesota Wild player appears to quite be safe these days, with the key exception being the lengthy contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, we’re taking a look at three teams that would be in for Jared Spurgeon and the sort of return possible.
Whilst we’re not suggesting that Jared Spurgeon is on the trading block, every General Manager, Paul Fenton included has their price. If the correct deal was offered to the Minnesota Wild, the highly underrated defenseman would be gone, without question.
However, the actual expectation of what the team would seek in return is why Spurgeon has thus far remaining one of the furthest names from any trade rumours.
With 241 points in 569 NHL games, the 29 year-old Edmonton native has carved out quite a comfortable spot for himself on the Minnesota Wild blue-line. When you factor his strong production and two-game with his right-handedness, suddenly the assets you could expect from any sort of Jared Spurgeon trade are greatly increased.
Which teams would likely consider a move though; we’re looking primarily at candidates from the Atlantic Division, it’d seem:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Around the league, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the teams spoken about most often in terms of needing a right-side defenseman.
You’d figure there’d be a degree of comfort from them knowing that his deal lasts another season; that after all was a factor in their recent deal to acquire Jake Muzzin from the Los Angeles Kings.
However, their sticking point would most likely be the size of his cap hit. It’s quite fair to think that a deal with them would mean Nikita Zaitsev, despite being a right-side guy would be headed the other way given his contract and cap hit.
If this was the case though, if you’re the Minnesota Wild management team, you’d be demanding a high-tier prospect or someone else of considerable value coming back also.
Think guys like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson from their NHL roster or a couple of their AHL talents; Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren come to mind as defenseman whilst Jeremy Bracco or Adam Brooks would offer something to the forward group.
If you could achieve returns of two or three of the names mentioned, I think it’d be a strong deal for the future of the Minnesota Wild, even if it means giving up Jared Spurgeon’s production short-term.
The Montreal Canadiens surely also wouldn’t mind adding a right-side defenseman as they continue to surprise with their sustained push towards a possible wild-card spot.
It’s not hard to envisage Jared Spurgeon fitting right in on a defensive corps with Jeff Petry and Shea Weber patrolling the other right-side spots. Having a trio of those three names patrolling the right would certainly place the Canadiens in a spot of having some remarkable right-side depth.
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Significant returns would be required though and it’d be unlikely that the Montreal side would be willing to give current roster players away to the Minnesota Wild.
As such, you’d be looking to their prospect pool and would want at least one of their top-tier guys and a draft pick minimum; Ryan Poehling, Alexander Romanov, Cayden Primeau, Josh Brook or Nick Suzuki would be the names you’d want to chase.
Any combination of those would be just fine. If the Minnesota Wild were genuinely looking to ditch Jared Spurgeon, that is.
Finally, we look to the Buffalo Sabres, who already boast a defense led by probably the best teenage defensive rookie in a while; Rasmus Dahlin. Adding the (comparative) veteran presence of Jared Spurgeon would certainly not be detrimental to his development. The fact that they’ve dropped off the pace somewhat might mean this wouldn’t happen anyway though.
In terms of players to target in a deal; I think you’d be smart if you were Minnesota Wild General Manager to pitch for Sam Reinhart as the salary component of the deal. Buffalo would be another team that’d expect a fair swap of salary to make any sort of deal viable.
Additionally, you’d again be seeking a first or second round draft pick and/or a high-level prospect; think the likes of Tage Thoompson, Alex Nylander or Brendan Guhle. All three names haven’t quite made it to the big-time but certainly offer a degree of pedigree that you could expect at least third-line minutes immediately.
Realistically, any of the above returns wouldn’t be half-bad for a Minnesota Wild team that I believe should commit to not making the play-offs this year and focus on its prospect pool.
I’d sooner have a year without a likely first-round play-off exit and some sustained development of the team’s young talent, than seeing the core group continue to age with very little offered to the fan-base in return.
If that requires the hard decision to be made to move someone like Jared Spurgeon out, so be it. But only if the return on the deal is what’s best for the Minnesota Wild.