The NHL trade deadline is only a week away and once again the Minnesota Wild is in limbo. That unfortunate place where the team is still in the playoff race but bad enough miss it all together and end up with a mediocre pick in the first round.
Should we push for the playoffs or should we start selling?
Lets pretend we decide to bring in some warm NHL bodies to the roster. To do so, some prospects will need to be let go. For once in Wild history, the prospect pool had enough depth to trade away some youngsters without hurting the team.
#31 / Goalie / Houston Aeros
Mar 07, 1990
|2011/12 - Houston Aeros
Why is he available: The Minnesota Wild has had a history of developing goaltenders. There just hasn't been a single season without at least one solid goalie. Manny Fernandez, Dwayne Roloson, Nklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, and now developing is Matt Hackett, Darcy Kuemper and Johan Gustafsson.
Hackett is considered the most NHL-ready out of all of them but Kuemper and Gustafsson each have their own impressive resumes.
Where he might go: Columbus might be team looking to sell as well as have a lack of top goaltending prospects. The Devils have Scott Wedgewood, another Plymouth Whaler product, but with all the talks of Zidlicky, could help replace an aging Broduer.
What he might be worth: Probably not much alone due to the popular trend of acquiring hot but cheap goaltenders (sounds weird I know...). However, if I had to value him, I would say a 2nd/3rd pick. He's talented but again, he's a goaltender and goalies are the hardest to value.
Other considerations: Hackett is only one of the many talented goaltenders in the Wild system. Any of them are expendable.
The bottom line: I don't see any of these prospects traded by themselves but will make very nice complimentary trade pieces.
Mar 2 1992
|2011/12 - Saint John Sea Dogs
Why is he available: He really isn't, but for the first time, the Minnesota Wild has good depth within the organization. This allows the team to trade away prospects and still be solid enough to be competitive.
Charlie Coyle is one of the more talented forward prospects the Wild have, and while any other forward prospect could be in this article, Coyle just my personal odd one out. Jason Zucker was the captain of Team USA and Johan Larsson was the captain of Sweden and a gold medalist.
Where he might go: Buffalo lacks a top center prospect and with their season looking bad, they could be on the lookout for a player like Coyle. Carolina and Anaheim both also wouldn't mind a top prospect like Coyle.
What he might be worth: As much as people want to believe prospects are worth alot, that just isn't true. However, Coyle is a very good prospect and has shown to be able to translate his NCAA performance to a more rigorous schedule playing in the QMJHL.
Coyle alone could bring in a late 1st and 2nd in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but he could help a trade package to bring in a good player, much like the way the Sharks sent Coyle and other things for Brent Burns.
Other considerations: Coyle can easily be switch out by several Wild prospects such as Zach Phillips, Jason Zucker, Johan Larsson, but I can tell you, the Wild love ALL of them.
The bottom line: Bottom line? Don't expect any of these forwards to be traded but you never know. If the Wild decide to push for the playoffs, you need to give to get, and Coyle has very good value in him.
|2011/12 - Houston Aeros
Why is he available: Once again, Cody Almond sees his time with the Wild dangerously short as the trade deadline approaches. While he isn't a prospect that will be highly sought for, he is a solid prospect that is developing well into a bottom six filler.
However, with Chad Rau, Carson McMillan and Jarod Palmer with impressive callups, and the expected injection of Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Brett Bulmer, and Johan Larsson, Almond is quickly falling down the ranks, making him expendable.
Where he might go: He really could go anywhere...
What he might be worth: Very little. Best thing to do is to package him into a deal but if he were to be traded alone, you could maybe garner a 6th or 7th round pick. He is a decent player but he just hasn't shown dominance in any single area (toughness, skill, speed etc.).
The bottom line: He will be a decent throw in in any deal, just to sweeten a deal.
#44 / Defense / Minnesota Wild
Oct 11 1988
|2011/12 - Minnesota Wild
Why is he available:The Wild have a number of emerging young defenseman on the roster such as Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, and Nate Prosser. Prosser recently just signed a two-year extension and Scandella and Spurgeon playing as if they are the team's top defensive pairing.
That leaves out Falk, who by no means is playing bad. He is mobile, safe, and does his job. However, if I had to choose between all the young defensemen, Falk would be the most expendable (with value of course). In addition, he has played a good amount of NHL games to help any team immediately.
Where he might go: Tampa Bay could use a solid defenseman who could help continue its youthful surge with Stamkos and Hedman. He can pretty much help any team because he's young and cheap.
What he might be worth: He could be worth as high as a mid-round pick. However, it'll require the right suitor. Many teams would not because he is still young and has yet to play an entire season in the NHL, but with the right team, they may see promise in a cheap, mobile and physical option.
The bottom line: I don't want to see him go. With all the years of struggle the Wild has seen, the team needs to remind itself it needs to keep its cheap bottom pairing players. While they may not be the team's key players, they contribute by playing solid minutes and for rookie salaries.