Today we will go over the third-best trade and third-worst trade in Minnesota Wild history.
Today we will be covering the Wild’s best and worst trades in their 19-year franchise history. We will be keeping this mini-series going with the Wild’s 3rd best and worst trades.
If you missed the last two articles in this series, you might want to check it out before reading the thirds
Third Best Trade In Franchise History
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During the 2011-2012 season, Cal Clutterbuck was playing a top-six role with the Wild. Clutterbuck was one of only four Wild players to score over 15 goals in that season. Clutterbuck’s 15 goal season also saw him record 12 assists for 27 points.
Despite having three straight seasons with over three hundred hits with the Wild, Cal posted only 288 hits, which was a down year for him.
Unfortunately, Clutterbuck’s efforts weren’t good enough as the Wild missed the playoffs for their fourth time in the last four years.
GM Chuck Fletcher knew something needed to change. During the long 2012 offseason, Fletcher signed LW Zach Parise and D Ryan Suter to 13-year deals at $98 Million each.
Fletcher also brought up two rookie forwards in Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund. With three new forwards in Fletcher’s top-six, Clutterbuck was bumped down to a bottom-six forward role. Clutterbuck was just not the same player we used to see. In the shortened NHL lockout season, Clutterbuck only notched 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points.
In the last year of his 3 year deal he signed in 2010, Clutterbuck was going to hit the Free Agent market for the first time in his career. Instead of letting Clutterbuck go and getting nothing in return, Fletcher decided to trade Cal to Long Island for a young 20-year old winger in Nino Niederreiter.
The Switzerland native played 64 career games with the Islanders where he recorded 2 goals and 1 assist for 3 points. At the time of the trade, Nino didn’t play in the 2012-2013 season in the NHL with the Islanders. So, Fletcher took a chance on the young winger.
Niederreiter’s first season with the Wild was a good one, recording 14 goals and 22 assists for 36 points in 81 games. Niederreiter’s efforts also got the Wild back in the playoffs for the second straight season.
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy was looking for his first career playoff win as a head coach. Unfortunately for him, it was “Déjà vu” as the Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche in overtime of game 7. Niederreiter scored the game-winning goal just like Andrew Brunette did in 2003.
Although Brunette scored his game seven OT goal on goaltender Patrick Roy and Nino scored his game 7 OT goal V.S. Head coach Patrick Roy, it still makes us Wild fans happy and Patrick Roy a little mad.
Niederreiter played six seasons with the Wild where he ranks 7th in Wild history in goals with 110 and 8th in power-play goals with 28. Nino also is tied for 6th in shooting percentage with Marian Gaborik with 12.8% and 6th in goals per game with 0.25. In 434 games in a Wild sweater, Niederreiter tailed 118 assists for 228 points.
Third Worst Trade In Franchise History
In the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher was put in an extremely tough situation. With some players with an NMC (No Movement Clause) Fletcher was forced to leave Eric Staal, Erik Haula, Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella & Goaltender Darcy Kuemper available. Vegas GM George McPhee was likely going to select young star defender Matt Dumba with his pick. Chuck Fletcher, on the other hand, didn’t want to let Dumba go so, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher traded Wild number 1 prospect Alex Tuch along with McPhee’s selection in Erik Haula to Vegas for a 2018 3rd, just so McPhee didn’t take Matt Dumba.
McPhee scored big-time, as Haula and Tuch had break-out seasons for Vegas, getting them to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season. At the time Alex Tuch was Minnesota’s number one prospect, so it really hurt to see him go just for a 3rd round pick. I’ll give Chuck some slack though as you couldn’t really predict that Haula would have a break-out season that he did, but either way its a tough blow.
If I was Chuck Fletcher I wouldn’t have traded my number one prospect just to keep Matt Dumba. I believe Fletcher should’ve offered McPhee/Vegas, Marco Scandella, Erik Haula, and a 2018 2nd-round pick just for them to not take Dumba.
Make sure to be on the lookout for the number 2 best-and-worst trades list as we close in on number one. What trade would you have sent Vegas to protect Dumba?
All stats and contracts courtesy of CapFriendly