Given the Wild are plummeting through the standings faster than an anvil, I've been giving a lot of thought to any moves Chuck Fletcher might make before the deadline. Ver few "minor/average" trades are going to shake this team up, so Fletcher either needs to make another blockbuster deal for an elite scorer or pack it in and make small trades for picks or prospects. However, there is one trade that, I think, could be very beneficial to the Wild. If not this year, then possibly the next. More after the jump.
When most Wild fans think of trading with Anaheim, their mouths start to water with the idea of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan playing in Iron Range Red. Yes, I think we can all see it. Unfortunately, the odds of that happening AND still being able to keep such prospects as Granlund, Coyle, Brodin, Phillips, Larsson, Zucker and Lucia are slim to none. Fortunately, there is another trade that could be made with Anaheim. Think about this.
As we all know a certain captain of a certain struggling team in the Northwest Division has a brother playing for the Ducks. Who knew, right? Now, before you protest and blow me off, hear me out. Sure, Saku will be 38 next season and is probably just a year or two away from retirement. However, call me sentimental, but I think Saku wouldn't mind playing alongside little brother Mikko to finish out his NHL career. And, would you look at that--Granlund "The Holy Savior" will most likely be playing in a Wild sweater next year, too! What a coincidence, don't you think?
Imagine a top line of Granlund-M. Koivu-S.Koivu. That's right; it's got potential. With Mikko and Saku being brothers, and having played together, they each know the other's game (picture Mikael and Markus Granlund). Throw in Granlund, who had also played with Mikko and is basically already being mentored by the beloved Wild captain and you have a very formidable top line. Granted, we also thought that with Setoguchi-Koivu-Heatley, but I digress. This, of course, is not the top line of the future, but it does buy time for guys like Coyle, Phillips, Zucker, Bulmer, Larsson and Lucia to develop and not be rushed into the NHL too soon.
How do we aquire said Koivu brother, you ask? Well, it's very simple. Saku has a cap hit of $2.5 million a year. Matt Cullen has a cap hit of $3.5 million. Trade Cullen and Harding for Saku and a 2nd or 3rd round pick and not only do you aquire a good player and a pick, but you also free up cap space. Another alternative to Cullen would be Setoguchi, as well.
This may not be the best move for the sake of this season, but it could be a smart move when you take next year into consideration.