Minnesota Wild Fans Want a New Top Six Center. The Issue is…

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12: Eric Staal #12 of the Minnesota Wild speaks with Mats Zuccarello #36 during a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 12: Eric Staal #12 of the Minnesota Wild speaks with Mats Zuccarello #36 during a 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on November 12, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Trade Central

This is where the Minnesota Wild are most likely to get the Center they need. It’s been well stated that the Wild are going to have to trade either Brodin or Dumba if they want to get something from there departure and they’re very valuable trade chips. Some of these trade proposals may be bombastic, but we like to dream big,

Jack Eichel

Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Jack Eichel has carried the Buffalo Sabres since he’s arrived. The issue is management and ownership haven’t been able to build a team around him that can sustain a high level of play and finally reach the playoffs.

For the last two seasons, the Sabres have run extremely hot, looked to finally get over the mediocrity hump, just to plummet back into the draft lottery. Jack Eichel has some serious talent, it’d be a shame for his talent to go to waste. Wouldn’t be the first time Buffalo has lost an elite center either. In the Free Agency before last season, Ryan O’Reilly was traded from Buffalo to St. Louis, giving the reigns of the team to Jack Eichel.

The issue is, they haven’t gotten any better. They have the 10th worst GF in the league and almost dead middle of the pack in goal prevention at 17th. How much longer can the Sabres tread water like this before their Franchise Player gets antsy? Hard to say. They have control over his contract for another six seasons ($10M per) but they don’t have the type of draft capital, prospects, or ability to add significant pieces and be a Stanley Cup Contender now.

Trading Jack Eichel away doesn’t get them any closer, but it could put them in a better position to better build for the future. Who knows? Isn’t really the Wild’s problem…

Here are three trade proposals, one including Dumba, one including Brodin, one including both:

Buffalo replaces their center with a solid looking prospect, with all-around good offensive talent, and gets two first-round draft picks in the upcoming draft, which is considered to be incredibly deep. They also get Matt Dumba, incredibly talented offensive defenseman, who is under contract for another three years, at $6M each.

Essentially the same trade, but because Brodin only has one more season on his current contract ($4.1667M), Minnesota gives up a better prospect.

I like this trade a bit less because Khovanov looks like a solid player, and I think you could get a similar deal as the Dumba trade by extending Brodin to a similar contract (maybe a bit longer, could give a lesser prospect). Who knows, I may be severely lowballing the Sabres right now and offending a lot of their fans.

This trade would be bananas. The entire second defensive pair gone for Jack Eichel and Rasmus Asplund, Buffalo’s second-best center prospect (Dylan Cozens the first). They also flip first-round picks, Buffalo getting the worst of the first-round picks between Minnesota’s two (Their own and Pittsburgh’s).

Buffalo would likely have to make a move to unload a defenseman, as they’d have nine after the trade, but they could get it done with another team in the offseason.

This offer somewhat balances the AAV of the key players in this trade, Minnesota actually gives up a bit more. Buffalo gets two incredible defensemen, both of which could conceivably play on their top pairing immediately.

Another thought in the package deal, Brodin and Dumba are incredibly close. They’ve been a defensive pairing almost their entire career, and no one else knows the other’s game better.

Minnesota gives up a lot of established talent for an elite, top 10 center in the league. They could commit and pull off this trade if they think their younger defensemen are ready (remember Menell played a handful of games earlier this season and looked good, Belpedio almost had an opening day roster spot, the team seems to love Soucy’s jump to the NHL this year). They also have an incredibly strong defensive core, that’s why it looks like they’ll have to move on from either Brodin or Dumba at the minimum.

This is likely our more creative idea. But trust us, we’re still going to get weird.

Aleksander Barkov

Florida Panthers, Aleksander Barkov (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Florida Panthers, Aleksander Barkov (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

At what point during the “Most Underrated Player in the League” discussion does a player move on to “Best Player on a Bad/Mediocre/Undercovered Team”? Barkov might be there.

Remember how we projected that Jack Eichel could get a bit tired with the team’s lack of success? Barkov might be there already. Last year when Barkov won the Lady Byng, he opened his acceptance speech with:

What’s the Lady Byng you might ask? Well, it is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

And if that’s not the most ironic thing, I don’t know what is.

Could Minnesota conceivably acquire him? His cap hit is much less at $5.9M a year for the next two seasons, but that could also be viewed as “Wow, what a deal!”

Back near the deadline, it was rumored the Wild had taken some looks at Vincent Trochek, but he eventually was moved to Carolina. Interestingly enough, both the Panthers and the Hurricanes had taken an interest in the Wild’s Jonas Brodin, so perhaps the Hurricanes get Trochek from the Panthers to try and complete a deal for Minnesota’s Brodin.

Something Wild fans somewhat expected around the deadline is interest in Brodin but didn’t expect anything to be done. Not the sort of deal that occurs around the deadline but rather the offseason and draft floor. For Minnesota, this works to their advantage. Better players become more available out of season.

Here’s the other issue Florida has going on. They committed $10M a year for seven seasons to Sergei Bobvrosky, who is having a terrible year. According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, Florida Panthers Ownership has given Dave Tallon the directive of cutting $10M in salary next season, exactly what they paid to Bob. That doesn’t mean get rid of Bob, just help us recover some of that lost investment. If they’re related at all….. (they are).

SO, let’s help the Panthers help their owners and the Wild. The Panthers already have an interest in Brodin and we’ll build from there.

Poor Sam, I’ve traded the guy like three times today. Panthers get the dman they want in Jonas Brodin, a solid goalie prospect in Mat Robson who has performed fairly well in Iowa. Sam Hentges, Minnesota’s second/third best center prospect (depends on how you view Boldy, as a Center or a Winger), and the better pick of Minnesota’s (likely) two first-round picks. The Panthers also save a bit more than $1.7M in the deal.

And Finally,

Dylan Larkin

Detroit Red Wings, Dylan Larkin (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Detroit Red Wings, Dylan Larkin (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Some of you might have noticed a theme about these big trades involving Dumba/Brodin. We’ve targeted teams with very good centers who are dwelling towards the bottom half of the league. Detroit is the epitome of that team. Fully possible that Detroit breaks the infamous Colorado Avalanche 48-Point Season, but with the rest of the season in limbo, we may never know.

Detroit is in the midst of a major rebuild. The cost of winning the cup in the late 2000s and committing to extending the playoff streak they had, they emptied the future. Detroit is not going to be good for a while. They currently have the best odds of drafting Alexis Lafreniere come draft day, but still, they won’t go from being the second rendition of the Dead Wings to a contender like that (ok that may be harsh, but you get the point.)

So what does Detroit need?


Everything. Last in Goals For, Last in Goals Against. Anything would help.

So let’s try.

Minnesota gets Dylan Larkin, a player who can keep up with Fiala’s speed and has a great offensive game, and trade away Dumba (talented offensive defenseman), both 2020 First Round picks (help the Red Wings rebuilt faster), and a throw-in 4th round pick next season. I have the most trouble evaluating what exactly the Wings need. An offensive defenseman isn’t likely high on that list, they need scoring, but probably isn’t best to focus on the Blue Line for that.

Could maybe alter this trade by adding on a Louie Belpedio, drop the 4th round pick and the worst of the first-round picks, but maybe uneven.

Somewhat similar trade proposal, but Minnesota also gets Mastrosimone, who has some offensive skill but won’t drive a line on his own (which is perfectly fine, it’s not why we get him). Detroit gets Brodin (excellent defenseman, skates phenomenally, his defense is sound), Mat Robson (played well in Iowa, builds their Goalie Pipeline), Minnesota’s First Round pick in 2020, and the throw-in 4th from 2021.

I think Detroit would rather get Brodin than Dumba, they’d value the defensive upside more. Could potentially drop off Mastrosimone, Robson, and the 2021 4th round pick by a “sign and trade”, extending Brodin to give the Red Wings more control and security. Minnesota would maybe need to add the other first-round pick, could probably get away with either a 2020 3rd round or 2020 2nd round.

Huh. I just realized all the teams I’ve targeted are in the Atlantic as well. Weird.

Thanks for reading this gargantuan piece. About 10 hours of work and 4000 words.

Let me know your thoughts on any of the ideas mentioned above. Do I need to work on my trade evaluations (answer: Yes absolutely, I’m way out of practice

)? Any ideas of your own? Drop them down below.