Let's be up front about a few things. The writers here at Hockey Wilderness are all Wild fans. We are not ashamed of this fact. We have loyalties, and are not an objective source for news. We try to be, but that's not always possible. We all have favorite players, favorite teams, and favorite teams to hate.
When a trade involved a player like Brent Burns, it is bound to evoke a reaction. We are only human. We reported the trade earlier, but gave no indication of how we feel about it, except in the comments and on Twitter. Now, you get this humble writer's take on the trade.
After the jump, of course.
Why I like It
Looking at where the Wild are, and where they are trying to head, this trade makes sense. I hate to admit that, for reasons you will learn later, but it does. The Wild trade an All-Star defenseman for a (hopefully) goal-scoring young winger, a prospect in Charlie Coyle that looks to be an absolute gem, and an additional first round pick that became Zack Phillips.
The addition of young talent is something Chuck Fletcher is keyed in on, and this proves it. We will never know what the contract demands would have been, what Burns would have wanted to stay here, or if the Wild were willing to pay it. The fact that he was traded seems to indicate they either didn't want to, or felt they would be unable to. Either way, Burns is traded, so we don't get to know.
The trade makes sense in that it brings in Devin Setoguchi, who had 199 SOG last season, which would have placed him second on the Wild. The Wild need a player who will shoot the puck, and the puck and they found him in Setoguchi. It will be interesting to see where he plays, but on a line with one or two of the playmakers the Wild have... it could be fun.
Why I Hate It
I like Brent Burns. He
is was, without a doubt, my favorite Wild player. That comes from a personal and purely selfish affiliation with him through Defending the Blue Line, and I am absolutely sorry to see him go. He is a class act human being, with a heart of pure gold and a love for the military personnel of both the United States and Canada. He will be sorely missed by DTBL here in Minnesota, but I am sure will be a great asset in spreading the word to the Bay Area.
On the ice, I still feel he was the best defenseman the Wild had. That opinion is not shared by all here at Hockey Wilderness, but it is mine. Zidlicky has offense, Schultz has defense, Burns had both. He is still young and developing, and that development was destroyed by injury and by the worst coaching decision Jacques Lemaire ever made.
His play was, at times, erratic, and we let him have it when it was. I still don't know how much of that was him, and how much was Todd Richards or Burns trying to do too much. He was certainly fun to watch.
The Final Say
The final say on the trade will be a long time coming. Fans at the X were not pleased when they heard Burns' name, then they were ecstatic when they heard the return. Sharks fans don't seem mixed, but leaning toward unhappiness. Wild fans seem to be begrudgingly accepting. The final say will come in the next few years, and see what Setoguchi can do, what Coyle develops into, and if Phillips can make it.
The only thing I know for sure is that I am going to miss Brent Burns being around. He was one of the few the old regime got right. Great kid at the draft, developed into an all-star, and has upside still to find. If the end result is Burns being the next Norris trophy winner in San Jose, and hoisting a Cup, I will cheer every second of it. I will forever be a Brent Burns fan, and I wish him absolutely nothing but the best in San Jose.
I am not happy about it, but I understand it. It is good for the team, and for the organization, but it is still painful. Growth is painful. Objectively, it is a good trade. Full of biased thought? I don't like it. But that is for me to deal with, not the team. Good on ya, Mr. Fletcher for making another bold move.
Thanks for your time here in Minnesota, Brent. Good luck going forward.