Full Deadline Coverage
Full Deadline Coverage
The 2014 Trade Deadline is tomorrow. So, basically, right now is a sort of "Last Call" for teams looking to make improvements. No doubt, Chuck Fletcher is working the phones to do just that. The Wild appear to be set on obtaining a goaltender for insurance. They will also be looking for the right deal on a Top-6 Forward or Top-4 defenseman.
But, as they say, to get something, you have to give something, and nothing at the trade deadline comes cheaply. Take last year, for example, when the Wild traded for Jason Pominville, giving up Top-10 Prospects Johan Larsson and Matthew Hackett, as well as a first and second round pick.
Even after that major trade raided the Wild's prospect cupboard, the Wild still have plenty of chips, both in the NHL and the farm system, that they could use at the deadline. So, with that, let's take a look at the assets Minnesota possesses that could be attractive in the coming days.
Overview: The 2010 9th Overall Pick was placed in a prominent role by the Minnesota Wild last season, where he disappointed in the second-line center role. He worked on his game in the offseason, and the improvements have been very noticeable. He's scored 15 points (3 G, 12 A) in the 19 games he's played in 2014, and just had a breakout performance in the Olympics, where he was third in the tournament in points en route to earning All-Olympic Team honors.
Why He's Desirable: Did you read the previous paragraph? He's a young, cheap, budding star with fantastic vision. Any team would be happy to take him on.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Almost 0%. It would take the Wild getting a superstar- and one with good term at that- for the Wild to part with him.
Overview: Another early 2010 Draft disappointment was almost ruined by the New York Islanders, who spent a season keeping him on the fourth line for salary cap purposes, and then next keeping him in the AHL for salary cap purposes. Niederreiter was perturbed by his mishandling, and his relationship with the Islanders soured. Chuck Fletcher traded Cal Clutterbuck and a third-round pick to acquire him, and the results have been fantastic. Niederreiter has a respectable 30 points playing mostly second and third line roles.
Why He's Desirable: Niederreiter is big, moves well for his size, and has skill. Even better, he plays with an edge and crashes the net often. At the young age of 21, Niederreiter can still further develop his game and increase his point totals.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Almost 0%. Wild fans have a lot to be excited about Niederreiter, as he's not only skilled, but has the energy and willingness to crash the net to fill the "fan favorite" void left by Cal Clutterbuck. Fletcher coveted him in the 2010 Draft, and I don't see him giving Niederreiter up for much of anything.
Overview: Acquired in the Brent Burns trade, Coyle started his Wild career with 37 games in the lockout-shortened season. Coyle impressed last season, holding his own on the first line skating with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise and scoring 14 points while displaying a strong possession game. He seemed primed for a breakout pre-season, but suffered an injury, and has plateaued at the level he was at last season.
Why He's Desirable: Like Granlund and Niederreiter, Coyle is young, cheap, full of potential, and can play minutes in the NHL, and play well, right now. Coyle has a well-rounded skill set to go with his 6'3", 220 lb. frame.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Slim, but possible. I say this having absolutely no insight, and am about to go into the realm of wild speculation and guesswork. But if the Wild wanted to make a move to upgrade at center, I could see Charlie Coyle being an attractive piece with which to pry Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks. I don't know what else you would have to trade with Coyle to get that done, or if I would ultimately want to do the deal it would take to land Kesler. But would I be intrigued by upgrading from Coyle to Kesler, who is 5th in the league in shots, and has two years at a very reasonable 5 million dollar cap hit remaining? Yes. Very intrigued.
Available... For a Price...
Overview: Jason Zucker has been a Top-6 player in the NCAA, where he starred for Denver University, and the AHL, where he's scored 63 points (including 32 goals) in 77 games. He hasn't had much more than glimpses in the NHL, though, scoring only 10 points in 41 regular season games over the last two seasons. This season, he's been jettisoned back and forth from Iowa to Minnesota, with the brass citing a need to improve his two-way game.
Why He's Desirable: Jason Zucker is fast. Really fast. And Jason Zucker shoots. A lot. While he's struggled to attain the success that leads to consistent minutes in the NHL, he's over-achieved at the college and AHL levels. He was seen as a third-line prospect when he was drafted, so developing more of a two-way game doesn't seem to be something he can't achieve. And remember, he was a Captain of Team USA in the WJC.
Likelihood of Being Traded: If the Wild make a big trade, likely, at least according to Michael Russo. Despite not having a prospect in the system like Zucker in terms of having his speed/shot combination, if he truly is in the Wild's doghouse, he should still have enough value to entice another team. Like Johan Larsson last year, he could be another Wild forward prospect blocked from the NHL by a glut of forward talent, and thusly deemed expendable.
Overview: At #7 Overall, Mathew Dumba was the highest Minnesota Wild draft pick since Benoit Pouliot in 2005. Dumba took a step back offensively last season, as he focused on his defensive game. The Wild thought Dumba to be too advanced to be returned to the WHL this season, and kept him with the NHL club (Where he played 13 games) until the World Junior Championships. After a rough, illness-ridden WJC, he was sent to the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, where he's torn it up with 14 points in 20 games.
Why He's Desirable: Dumba is a bit on the smaller side at 6'0", 183 lbs., but he's an offensive dynamo and a hitting wizard. A great skater, to boot, he's as exciting as any defensive prospect an NHL team can boast.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Very unlikely. The Wild aren't particularly deep in defensive prospects. Especially ones that are as close to the NHL as Dumba is. Especially ones that have as much offensive upside as Dumba has. I'd only trade him for a defenseman, and there's not a defenseman on the block (that we know of) that I'd trade Dumba for.
2014 First Round Pick
Overview: A first-round pick was a piece of the Jason Pominville trade last season. By my calculations, the Wild would be picking 22nd if the season ended today.
Why It's Desirable: This draft isn't supposed to be as good as last year's, but a first-round pick is always going to be appealing to teams. Teams covet the young, cheap talent the draft provides.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Unlikely. Fletcher has been on the record stating that he's reluctant to give up a first-rounder two years in a row. They would in the right deal, of course, but
2014 Second Round Pick (From Winnipeg)
Overview: This pick was acquired from Winnipeg last offseason for Devin Setoguchi. It would be the 42nd pick in the draft if the season ended today.
Why It's Desirable: A second-round pick is the standard price for a player that can help you, but isn't that good.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Likely. Fletcher has been pretty willing to trade second-round picks in the past, and has been able to either acquire them as needed by trading draft picks (as he did with the Zucker and Mario Lucia picks), or roster players. If Fletcher can find a mid-tier player he thinks can help the Wild, he won't hesitate to flip a second.
Take My Player, Please!
Overview: Corpse of Dany Heatley, Oct - Dec: 41 Games, 8G-4A-12P. Re-animated Corpse of Dany Heatley, Jan - March 20 Games, 4-9-13.
Why He's Desirable: He's in the last year of his contract, which means that 7.5 million dollars in cap space will be coming off the books at the end of the season. At this late stage of the season, only 5 teams can't fit the 1.92 million of cap space. He's a veteran who teams may be able to talk themselves into thinking he can return to a 20-25 goal pace somewhere other than Minnesota.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Not likely. Not that Minnesota wouldn't part with him, but he has a partial No-Trade Clause, and I don't see the demand for him being too high.
Overview: Kyle Brodziak can be a frustrating player to watch. He plays ultra-tough minutes, and actually acquits himself well playing in that defensive role, but has very little in the way of offensive skills. I actually wouldn't even have put him here, what with the way he's used by Minnesota, but Michael Russo suggested that he's on the trading block.
Why He's Desirable: If Brodziak is indeed on the trading block, there will be some suitors for him. He's the kind of "glue guy"/defensive specialist contending teams like to add at the deadline, usually for a second-round pick.
Likelihood of Being Traded: I'd say unlikely. I would guess that Brodziak provides more value to the Wild, especially to a playoff run this season, than whatever would come back in a trade for him. If the Wild brass wants to move Brodziak, I would suspect they wait until the offseason.
Overview: The speedy winger signed on to play with the Wild before last season, but hasn't been able to move off of the fourth line in his two seasons with Minnesota.
Why He's Desirable: He's a gritty player who wouldn't cost much to acquire.
Likelihood of Being Traded: Sure? Why not? The Wild won't get much for him, if they do. It won't matter if they trade him or not.
Overview: Face puncher. Played solid with the Wild last season, but the Wild seem done with him. He's played in 12 games this season, and they've gone 3-7-2 in those games. Wild seem to be shying away from a Mike Rupp type of player.
Why He's Desirable: Unless it's Game 7 of the 2003 Stanley Cup Final, he's not particularly. There are teams who may want to grab an enforcer for a playoff run, though.
Likelihood of Being Traded: If they can find a taker, sure.
To Soon to Be Traded
Gustav Olofsson and Mario Lucia, NCAA
These guys are promising, but haven't built up the reputation it would take to get a good haul from these second-round prospects.