Trade Jared Spurgeon
I know. I know. They just signed Jared Spurgeon to his massive contract (7 years- $53 million) and he is the current captain of the Wild, so hear me out.
Spurgeon has only made it through an entire season healthy one time in his entire career. Durability is a massive issue. The position the Wild are currently in, a player making $7.5 million each season, should be on the ice more than he is.
Like Dumba, Spurgeon has a full no-trade clause in his contract and at 32 years old, with his history of injuries, the Wild would most likely need to retain a portion of his salary in order to move him.
In doing so, Guerin would be paying close to $10 million dollars per season to two defensemen not on the roster. That is why we are in this position in the first place, so that is not an option.
A team like the Arizona Coyotes who have a history of eating the back part of lousy contracts to reach the salary floor, would probably not be an option as any trade would require Spurgeon’s approval.
Finding a trade partner could be tricky and would most likely require swapping for another player with a bad contract.
So what would be the point?
Whatever the Minnesota Wild could get in return for Spurgeon would most likely not be an option for replacing his on-ice impact and leadership.
The team would most likely need to replace his ice-time with cheaper free agents (they did it this year with Jon Merrill and Dimitry Kulikov). Going for another Alex Gologoski at $5 million per season would not be a very smart move as this cap space is needed elsewhere.
None of these moves are popular moves but all make sense if the Minnesota Wild are going to move forward with their new identity and make a real run at the Stanley Cup.
The team’s strength has changed from a team that was defense first, built from the net out. The Wild now are a team that outscores any team with their top three lines. Move forward and go with the new plan.
The Minnesota Wild have made it clear that keeping Marcus Foligno, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Jordan Greenway together was a top priority. The team has Kaprizov, Ryan Hartman, and Mats Zuccarello together for next season (though they desperately need a number one center).
It makes too much sense to keep Kevin Fiala and Boldy playing together. They have been sensational the past 11 games. This team can compete with any team in the league because of these three balanced lines.
Do not break them up. Add to them, but not via addition by subtraction.
The Wild are in a difficult position and I do not envy Guerin’s offseason, but he can avoid a messy rebuild and circumvent a salary cap disaster by being bold and making these difficult decisions.