Update on the Minnesota Wild
By Aaron Heckmann
The Minnesota Wild have just defined mediocrity once again, after coming out of the all-star break losing 9 out of their last 10 games (1-6-3). The Wild have won their last 2 games. Focusing on the trade deadline which is Monday, February 25, the Minnesota Wild have decided to rebuild. This is the right decision after Dumba and Koivu’s season ending injuries. The Minnesota Wild somehow still hold the 2nd wild card in the west; the Wild still hope to make the playoffs 7 years in a row and keep the 2nd highest active playoff streak in the NHL alive. But they are finally rebuilding so the young guys and new faces will have to step up to make it happen. Can a younger Wild team make the playoffs and make a deep playoff run? Time will tell.
Trade Deadline Preview & Start of Rebuild
We are days away from the NHL trade deadline. The Minnesota Wild have started the rebuild after trading away core pieces. First, they traded fan favorite Nino Niederreiter and acquired center Victor Rask in return. Next, the Wild traded Charlie Coyle for, possible future young star, Ryan Donato and a conditional fifth round pick which will change to a fourth rounder if Boston makes it past the first round. Donato, 22 has 3 points in his first 2 games with the Wild, so his future looks bright in a Wild sweater. The Wild also traded minor leaguer Justin Kloos for NHL ready Pontus Aberg.
The Wild also acquired Brad Hunt from the Vegas Golden Knights for a draft pick. As you can see, the rebuild has started. Let’s look at some other core pieces that could be traded before the deadline. Veteran Eric Staal is probably the most likely candidate to be traded because he would be a fantastic rental player considering he has just exploded after coming to Minnesota, and his contract of 3.5 Million aav is a steal. Eric Fehr could possibly be traded because he would be a good depth acquisition for any cup contender. Jonas Brodin is another core piece that could be traded because he would be a decent defenseman on the 2nd pair of most contenders, but his contract may be too risky for a lot of teams.
Lastly, Jason Zucker is probably not likely to get dealt, but it’s possible since he has had a tough season and many contenders would love to add a 30 goal scorer. After getting 33 goals last season, Zucker signed a big 5 year extension in the offseason, but he has only 14 goals this season so far. There are only 20 games left, so Zucker is on pace for just under 20 goals which is very disappointing.