With the race in the Western Conference tighten up, the Winnipeg Jets went out and made a blockbuster deal with the “tanking,” Buffalo Sabres. The Jets are holding on to one of the two-wildcard spots in the West, and enhanced their chances of making the playoffs with the trade. In the trade, the most notable names Winnipeg received were veteran NHLer, Drew Stafford and 25 year old, offensive-minded defensemen, Tyler Myer. With the Jets gaining more talent, what does this mean for the Minnesota Wild? Who are two points out of the last wildcard spot in the Western Conference. The trade deadline is approaching and it’s time to see what magic GM, Chuck Fletcher can do for this scrappy Minnesota Wild team. He has already found, what looks to be a diamond in the rough in, Devan Dubnyk, but one more quality move, could catapult the Wild back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Minnesota Wild are 7-1-2, in their last 10 games, including 6-0-1 since the All-Star break. The emergence of Devan Dubnyk, has them crawling back into the NHL playoff picture. Recent injuries have set them back. Monday night against the Canucks, the Wild lost Ryan Carter for a month due to a shoulder injury, but more importantly they lost Jason Zucker, who was second on the team in goals, for three months due to a broken collarbone. These injuries have the Wild looking into some trade options that could help push them over the hump into the playoffs.
Who wouldn’t want the 42 year old, future Hall-of-Famer, Jaromir Jagr? With losing a lot a scoring with Zucker’s injury, the Wild need to add offense. Recently Jagr has said he wanted to move to a playoff team. The wildly veteran has 29 points this season and would be great left-wing replacement for Zucker. What would it take for the Wild get him? The idea trade for the Wild, I think would be, Kyle Brodziak, Jonathan Blum, and a late round draft pick, for Jaromir Jagr and Seth Helgeson. If it was possible for Fletcher to pull this trade off, Jagr would help for the present playoff situation and Helgeson is a young defensemen (went to the University of Minnesota) who still needs sometime to develop, but could add depth to the Wild’s defensive core that has struggled with injuries all year.
Another name that has been swirling in trade talk is, Chris Stewart. Some people have said that the Wild need to add some toughness to their lineup. Chris Stewart is a man that could do that and add depth to their recently deflated group of Minnesota Wild forwards. The tanking Buffalo Sabres, I’m sure would have no problem getting rid of Stewart, as long as the Wild give them a prospect in return to help them with their rebuilding process.
Trusting Their Young Talent
Even though the Wild have been hit with injuries hard, they still have a lot of young and upcoming talent that could lead them to the promise land. Players like, Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula, and Nino Niederreiter, were all suppose to have breakout years but they have been silent when the team has needed them the most. Well, now they have another opportunity to step up again. Nino and Coyle have had an okay season but their play has very inconsistent at times. Enough so that coach, Mike Yeo, demoted them to the fourth line. Haula, after a breakout playoff performance, he has quite frankly been brutal this season. He went from beauty to bust, in a matter of 6 months and has been a healthy scratch a lot, as of late. If the Wild don’t want to risk trading away any of their young prospects, trusting the players they have now, might be the way to go. Although they haven’t been producing as well as we would like so far this season, Coyle, Nino, and Haula, have the talent to make this current Wild roster a threat in the playoffs.
The Wild take on the Panthers tonight at the Xcel Energy Center. It is a Panthers’ team that is in the same position as the Wild but in the Eastern Conference, on the outside looking in right now. The points in this game will be critical for both teams. It should be a playoff type atmosphere tonight in St. Paul. Be sure to tune in. The Wild will be hoping for their young guns to produce tonight but if they don’t, GM Chuck Fletcher could be making a trade in the near future.