Five is the number of trades that Chuck Fletcher has made on draft day. Rumor has it that the Minnesota Wild will aggressively pursue a first-rounder, or at least to move up in the draft. Can we glean anything from Fletcher's draft day trade tendencies? Do any of those trades provide a framework for the Wild this weekend? Let's take a look, shall we?
(Draft Day Trade information taken from the Minnesota Wild's 2013 Draft Guide. Much thanks.)
2009: Minnesota acquired a first-round pick (16th overall – Nick Leddy), a third-round pick (77th overall – Matt Hackett) and a seventh-round pick (182nd overall – Erik Haula) from the New York Islanders in exchange for the Wild’s first-round pick (12th overall – Calvin de Haan) in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Could Chuck pull a trade like this is in this year's draft? No. Not a shot. If the Wild get a first round pick at this point, it will be because they've targeted a guy, not because they want to trade down after paying the price to move up.
Hey, how did this trade work out, anyway? Weirdly enough, the principles in this trade turned out to be non-factors for their teams, thus far, anyway. Leddy was flipped for Cam Barker, but would have been a nice fit on the Wild now. de Haan has yet to contribute to his NHL team, but he's still in the AHL and his star is not yet burned out. Hackett was a major piece in bringing in Jason Pominville, and Erik Haula will enter his first pro season next year. There's no clear winner in this deal- either de Haan or Haula could tilt it towards their teams, but neither figure to do so significantly.
2009: Minnesota acquired Kyle Brodziak and a sixth-round pick (161st overall – Darcy Kuemper) from the EdmontonOilers in exchange for the Wild’s fourthround pick (99th overall – Kyle Bigos) and fifth-round pick (133rd overall – Olivier Roy) in the 2009 Entry Draft.
Could Chuck pull a trade like this is in this year's draft? Yes, but with a twist. The Wild are looking to send out Cal Clutterbuck, dropping a bit of salary for some flexibility to invest in other areas of the team (1.4 million cap hit last year, probably getting a raise). Clutterbuck is a better asset than Brodziak was, so perhaps the Wild could flip him and a fifth for a third and a fourth? Maybe straight up for a second? Hmmm...
Hey, how did this trade work out, anyway? Pretty well for the Wild. Brodziak has been a mainstay in the lineup, handling tough minutes and chipping in a bit offensively, while Kuemper has impressed at every level of hockey he's played so far, and is now the current Josh Harding Goalie of the Future recipient. Not only have Bigos and Roy not worked out, it doesn't appear that the Wild gave up the chance to draft anyone that might make them look stupid for giving up those picks.
2010: Minnesota acquired a second-round pick (59th overall – Jason Zucker) from the Florida Panthers in exchange for the Wild’s third-round pick (69th overall – Joe Basaraba) and fourth-round pick (99th overall – Joonas Donskoi) in the 2010 Entry Draft.
Could Chuck pull a trade like this is in this year's draft? Fletcher absolutely has the ammunition to move up for a late second, and in a deep draft, that might just be worth it. The Wild currently possess two third-round picks, at 70 and 81, as well as the 107th pick in the fourth round. This might be able to get them a little closer to the middle of the second, rather than the tail end of it. However, in this and another deal have shown, it's more than possible to get a nice player at the end of the second round.
Hey, how did this trade work out, anyway? Quite well, thank you very much. Zucker appears to be a great swingman- enough skill to play the second line, and enough grit to play the third, as well as speed to burn- and one of the Wild's best prospects. It's still early, but the Wild didn't appear to miss out on anyone of note by giving up those mid-round picks. Certainly not anyone of Zucker's caliber, anyway.
2011: Minnesota acquired a first-round pick (28th overall – Zack Phillips) along with Devin Setoguchi and Charlie Coyle from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Brent Burns and a second-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Could Chuck pull a trade like this is in this year's draft? Not a chance. The Wild don't have a star to unload, and won't feel the need to restock the cuboards- they want to win now. There's a small chance the Wild could pull a trade like this in reverse, with them receiving a star player for prospects, which would be interesting, but there's not an inkling of this out there as of now.
Hey, how did this trade work out, anyway? Pretty well for the Wild, I think. The return the Wild got for Burns was more valuable to them than Burns was. Setoguchi is either decent secondary scoring or decent trade bait for the Wild right now. Coyle is a budding top-six player, who should only get better with experience. And while you could maybe question whether Pontus Aberg (who was taken with the second-rounder the Wild gave up in that deal) is a better prospect than Zack Phillips, who struggled in his first pro season, Phillips still has a good chance of becoming something.
2011: The Wild acquired a second-round pick (60th overall – Mario Lucia) from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a third-round pick (71st overall – David Honzik) and a fourth-round pick (101st overall – Joseph LaBate) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Could Chuck pull a trade like this is in this year's draft? Another trade where Fletcher used two mid-round picks to gain a late second rounder. As discussed earlier, yes, we could well see a trade like this happen.
Hey, how did this trade work out, anyway? So far, so good. Lucia is flying under the radar in a loaded system, but he's coming off a solid freshman year at Notre Dame- similar in terms of production to Charlie Coyle's first year at Boston University. I won't even try to project whether someone in the third or fourth round will be better, but Lucia is a nice prospect for the Wild.
Those five trades in four years show that Fletcher loves maneuvering in the draft, often in a major way. When you look at them as a whole, only one of them would be considered low-impact (the Brodziak deal). So when you hear Russo saying that Fletcher is looking to move up in the draft, you'd do well to believe him.
Let the intrigue begin.