The Minnesota Wild’s season has been a forgettable one, but it’s also a year when they can still identify what should be a remarkable core. So forget about the poor record and points total, as their lack of success may be nothing more than outliers for this hockey team when the 2024-25 season rolls around.
Instead, let’s remember just how well the likes of Matt Boldy, Brock Faber, and Marco Rossi, among other young talents, have played. Kirill Kaprisov, Joe Eriksson Ek, Ryan Hartman, and Filip Gustavsson should also remain part of the core.
It’s premature to claim this team is in as much of a rebuilding phase as their current points total and spot in the Central Division may indicate. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pull off a trio of solid trades to add more fuel for more cap space, among other assets.
One player who we won’t see listed is Pat Maroon, who likely won’t be back this season after undergoing back surgery. Luckily for the Wild, there are a few players they could potentially send elsewhere.
Jacob Middleton fills a major necessity out west
Jacob Middleton is a blueliner with a manageable AAV of $2.45 million and respectable numbers to back up his abilities. While he’s not on any notable trade radar, his experience, solid play, and current salary could entice a contender looking for help on the blue line to at least inquire.
With his contract expiring in 2025, there is a chance the Wild won’t see Middleton as part of their overall core. Therefore, trading him makes a lot of sense if a would-be contender offers them the right price. But there is also a chance someone not looking to seriously contend until next season would be too happy to call up the Wild.
The Arizona Coyotes need at least one defenseman who will surely be in town for 2024-25 since there are no guarantees any of them will be there next season. Therefore, the Wild will send Middleton out west in this scenario, and they will get a third-rounder in 2024, a second in 2025, plus a developmental prospect in Ilya Fedotov.